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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Man and his Dog Narrowly Missed Death in Mississippi

Mon, Sep. 05, 2005
By Joshua Norman, Knight Ridder Newspapers

PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. - Horace "Skip" Brown woke up early on Aug. 29 to fry some eggs for himself and Ubu, his dog. He said he never considered leaving his home behind the police station in Pass Christian to flee Hurricane Katrina because he had worked hard on his land and he loved it.

By 8 a.m., Ubu, his light-brown, long-haired mutt, started barking wildly and water began bubbling up through the floor of his home.

By 8:30 a.m., the 55-year-old lifelong resident of the Pass said he was floating parallel to the ceiling of his kitchen and his dog was frantically swimming next to him.

A fire extinguisher floated by and he grabbed it. He managed to punch a small hole in the roof of his kitchen and shove Ubu through.

Brown, a handyman, janitor, gardener and anything else he needs to be, has bad eyes and wears thick glasses. He said he took off his glasses and tossed them through the hole.

"I didn't want to see myself die," Brown said.

Water got into his mouth, and Skip said he was about to let himself go.

Then he opened his eyes for what he thought would be the last time.

"I looked up and I seen that light and the dog was looking at me and I said, `Shoot, if that dog can make it through that hole, I can,'" Brown said.

He got through and floated away with Ubu and the rest of his house. The house stopped floating when it wedged between a pair of trees. Skip and Ubu were able to climb out of the wreckage when the waters receded.

These days, man and dog live on the second floor of St. Paul's School in Pass Christian.

Brown spends his days fishing off a pier nearby and digging through the wreckage for keepsakes, clothes and cleaning products to keep the school clean.

Besides losing his house, Skip lost a Pass Christian landmark of sorts.

"Man, he had a beautiful garden," said Skip's brother Ronnie, who was bunking down on a porch in a trailer park because his home was destroyed, too. "He must have spent $10,000 on that thing. People would come to take pictures in it and everything."


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