Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pensacola Readies for Possible Hit; Hurricane Dennis Approaching, and Many Haven't Recovered from the 2004 Battering

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Pensacola Readies for Possible Hit; Hurricane Dennis Approaching, and Many Haven't Recovered from the 2004 Battering

Article excerpt

Byline: RACHEL DAVIS

PENSACOLA -- Folks in this town have thrown up their hands and cursed their fate at the thought of having to relive last September.

But they figure they can holler and cry as much as they want and that storm is still going to go where it wants. No matter they've already had their fair share of stress and heartache. No matter that it's somebody else's turn.

So they've stood in line at the gas station, boarded up the house, packed up the car and started calling family in Alabama or Texas or North Carolina.

"I just wish somebody would get a big roller and a bucket of paint and paint this bulls-eye right off of Pensacola," said Scot Bragg, a contractor boarding up buildings downtown Friday morning in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Dennis.

While blue roofs -- ripped and weathered -- still dot the roadside, living after Ivan was just starting to get easier.

William Stinson is supposed to move back into his town home on Escambia Bay at the first of next month. He's been camping out in his driveway since last fall.

Bragg and other contractors have almost finished the repairs to one of the old downtown buildings that almost didn't make it through Hurricane Ivan.

But few other neighborhoods have come as far as the community of Grande Lagoon, just south of downtown, along the coastline of Big Lagoon. It was one of the hardest-hit areas in Escambia County last year when the surge ripped homes from their pilings and killed several who decided to stay as the storm came ashore.

David and Karen Deep lost almost everything last year, except the family photos and a few electronics they packed in the car.

Since then, they've replaced walls and floors and furniture. It's been hell dealing with the insurance company and living out of the FEMA trailer in the front yard, they said.

"I never wanted to go through that again," said Karen Deep. "I'm just kind of sick to my stomach."

Friday there was an eerie quiet in the neighborhood. Barely any wind was blowing and the Deeps' dog, Tootsie, was getting nervous.

They said they'd probably pack up their pup, the computer and head to Montgomery, Ala., sometime Sunday morning. …

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