Homes for Katrina victims taking shape in Bayou La Batre

Published 3:10 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2007

BAYOU LA BATRE, Ala. (AP) — Some of the 42 federally funded modular homes for Hurricane Katrina victims have arrived in Bayou La Batre, ending a two-year stay in FEMA trailers for residents eligible for the program.

Ellen Barbour and her sister, Alicia, watched a crane lower their house in place Tuesday. Their mother, Regina Barbour, in her 70s, did not leave their Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer to watch the construction.

For the sisters, who always had shared a bedroom in a home lost to Katrina on Aug. 29, 2005, the new home with three bedrooms will mean separate bedrooms for the first time.

Email newsletter signup

The first four FEMA homes were assembled this week. The work is being overseen by Mobile-based The Mitchell Company, which plans to install six homes per week, weather permitting, until all the homes are in place.

The homes — ranging from 1,100 to 1,400 square feet and in value from $98,000 to $112,000 — are being paid for with part of a $37 million grant the city received last summer from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The city selected 42 applicants who met qualifications — among them, that they had clear title to their land, that they owned it prior to Katrina and that the home was irreparably damaged by the storm, said Mayor Stan Wright.

Priority was given to those who, like the Barbours, are still living in FEMA trailers, Wright said. Special consideration is also given those who are handicapped or have special needs, he said.