Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Henderson Point, MS

Warning: this is a long post, long overdue...

So far on the blog, I haven't said much about Henderson Point, MS.  In the 1980's my grandparents bought two condos in a condo complex called Inn by the Sea.  I grew up going there most summers for the 4th of July.  My family shared it with my dad's other siblings and their families. My grandparents went down every weekend during the summer.  Here I am in high school in the pool with Bridget and Patrick.

The Inn by the Sea is a pretty unique place because it is one of the few areas on the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast, that is directly on the beach (without Hwy 90 running between the houses and the beach).  It was (and now is again) a U-shaped 4 story building with 72 units around a snowman shaped pool looking towards the Gulf.  Henderson point is just east of the entrance to Bay St. Louis and close to the Mississippi/Louisiana state line. 

Amazingly, I found this video that shows what it looked like in April 2005 - 4 months before it would be destroyed in hurricane Katrina.  The first building shown in the video (the blue one) was Inn by the Sea.

I probably haven't talked about it much because it was completely and totally destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.  Nothing was left.  

Here is a photo I took in November 2005.  I am standing behind what used to be the building looking toward the ocean.  Only the slab foundation is left.

Here is the pool from the first photo.  When I was standing there, I was thinking where did 72 fridges, couches, beds, stoves, tv's, etc. go?  They all washed out into the gulf.  Incredible destruction.

Here is the beach and the sea wall (there used to be dirt, grass and trees on the inside of the sea wall, but the storm just dug everything out).

So you can see why, for the past 4.5 years, there really hasn't been much to talk about.  I found a video on YouTube that showed what the construction site looked like in June of 2008 (isn't the internet wonderful!).  What is particularly sad is at the end of this video you see the Village, the condo complex next door.  Today it looks the exact same.  Apparently something shady went down and someone got away with some money and the owners were left high and dry. 

So the Inn by the Sea was rebuilt and earlier this year my extended family again took ownership of the condo (we went from two to one).  I got the opportunity to go in June and it was completely amazing.  They have changed a few things, but the heart and soul remains the same.  The first level is now a parking garage that is open (so if a storm surge hits again it will just flow through), so there are now 5 stories including this parking level.  The exterior went from blue siding to tan stucco.  The balconies that were once shared are now private.  Although all these things have changed, the pool remains the same - swim up bar and all.  Check it out.  

Remember the photo of the sea wall?  They filled it back in and it is still there.  Doesn't it look so different than in the photos above?   Also the beach is back to beautiful.

Because my dad and his siblings didn't want to argue about decorations, they hired a professional and this guy did an AMAZING job.  I absolutely love it.  It looks very beach chic now.  Our old condo was awesome too, but a little more rustic and had sort of an 80's vibe (geometric sheets a la Saved by the Bell and and white wall-to-wall carpeting).

The updated kitchen with seriously nice appliances.

The view form the beach (see the Village skeleton lurking to the right of the photo 5 years later).

It has been a long time coming, but I am SO excited to have Mississippi condo open again.  My husband has never been and I can't wait to take him to my childhood summer happy place.  The water is always warm, the waves are always gentle, and the sand is always soft, white, and warm.  I am already plotting how to get back there this summer. 

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