By Vivian Kuo, CNN
(CNN) - The 30-mile stretch between Biloxi and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, is still dotted with battle wounds from Hurricane Katrina seven years later.
Concrete slabs and steps that lead to nothing but trash and overgrown weeds are all that is left of historic brick homes.
But amid the slabs are majestic homes with grand, sweeping porches and perfectly manicured lawns.
The owners of these homes are as tough and resilient as only survivors of one of the deadliest storms in history could be.
Lifelong Bay St. Louis resident Corky Hadden lives on the spot of his childhood home, set off the water where the bay feeds into the Gulf of Mexico.
While he and his family evacuated to safety inland, Katrina's ravaging storm surge swept the house right off its stilts, leaving only the foundation intact.
"We had some old columns that the old house stood on, and those columns were picked clean, there was nothing left on them," he said.
Determined, Hadden rebuilt where his boyhood home once stood, both stronger and higher.
"I've got poured concrete pillars filled with steel, 10 times more steel than before," he said. "We're now 24 feet above sea level, 11 feet from the ground."
Isaac could bring in a 12-foot storm surge, which would mean Hadden's first floor could take on some water.
"We don't have anything important below that 24-foot elevation," he said.