Katrina-wrecked Beauvoir will rise again

The retirement home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, battered by Hurricane Katrina but still standing, is about to get a painstaking facelift.
Later this month, workers embark on a yearlong, $4 million project to repair and restore Beauvoir, the only national historic landmark that Katrina severely damaged on Mississippi's Gulf Coast.

The Biloxi home, built in 1852 and purchased by Davis in 1879, was hit by a nine-foot wall of water when Katrina roared ashore. Beauvoir had survived 21 hurricanes before Katrina, but the Aug. 29, 2005, storm nearly destroyed the popular beachfront tourist attraction.

Katrina shredded Beauvoir's roof, front porch, chimneys and pillars and flooded the elevated interior with about a foot of water. The hurricane also damaged a library, museum and other structures on the 52-acre property and swept away about one third of Beauvoir's artifacts, including some of Davis' manuscripts and roughly $250,000 worth of Confederate currency.

The core of the home is largely intact, however.

"It would have been a tragic loss that could not have been replaced," said Beauvoir curator Richard Flowers, "but we're going to bring it back bigger and better than before."