PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. — As the skies grew ominous and Hurricane Isaac plodded toward the Mississippi coast late Tuesday, Linda Quigley Ladnier repeated a ritual that began during Hurricane Katrina.
She knelt beside her wooden desk, laid her hands flat, and, with all the fervency and ferocity of a woman from the Deep South, asked God to save her small, road-side antique shop from the approaching storm.
"I said, 'God, please don't take everything I've worked for all this time,' " she said Tuesday.
Ladnier, 67, spent Tuesday stringing thick, brown rope over dozens of antiques littered throughout her yard and porch. She perched on a tall file cabinet to drill boards over the windows.
"You want a story, I've sure got some stories about Katrina," she said.
To understand the enormous devastation wind and water damage could cause in the Iron Magnolia Antique & Collectibles Shop, open the front door.
The 2,500-square-foot house-turned antique shop stores thousands of vases, paintings, perfume bottles, ornaments, bird houses, baskets, wind chimes, desks, beds and armoires.
"After Katrina, this place looked like a jar of Tinker Toys, and I thought, 'Oh my God, what am I going to do?' " she said, her voice breaking with emotion. "I thought, 'I can't do this by myself.' "
She doesn't want to rebuild again, she said, but she could.
"Everything seemed so hopeless and so devastating before," she said. "That's why I wanted to rebuild. I wanted to give a little hope."
Brittany Alana Davis can be reached at (850) 323-0353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.