BILOXI, Miss. — A 24-foot storm surge washed across the Beauvoir estate of Confederate President Jefferson Davis when Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi coast Aug. 29, 2005, wiping away two historic cottages and 40 percent of the National Historic Landmark's artifacts.
In the years since, volunteers have worked to restore the site, built in 1852. When Hurricane Rita threatened 25 days later, Jay Peterson spotted something suspicious from his Beauvoir guard booth. He grabbed the binoculars and realized he'd hit pay dirt. He walked into the Mississippi Sound and retrieved the desk chair that Jefferson Davis had used as a Mississippi senator in Washington.
On Tuesday, the site reopens to the public, with about half of the original furniture back.
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