St. Michael’s Catholic Church
“The Fisherman’s Church,” Biloxi, MS
The Fisherman’s Church sustained catastrophic damage from tidal surges during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. But this wasn’t the first time we were called to Mississippi to literally “pick up the pieces.” Hurricane Camille had inflicted similar damage in 1969, St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Biloxi, MS is called “The Fishermen’s Church” because the community was historically made up of fishermen who lived and working along the gulf. Emil Frei & Associates originally designed and fabricated windows, 35 ft tall, for St. Michael’s in 1963. All told, more than 5,700 square feet of stained glass occupy the church.
During Katrina, most of the lower 15 feet of their floor to ceiling windows had been swept out to sea. The client asked Emil Frei & Associates to recreate the missing stained glass and to provide a solution that would prevent future damage from hurricanes.
Our artists located the original design sketches in our company’s archives and gathered existing photographs from the clients. The new windows replicate the color, texture, and painting of the original windows and are indistinguishable from the original stained-glass panels just above them.
In order to protect these windows from future hurricanes, we engineered a double-hung window system that is easily operated by a single person and protects the stained-glass windows. Today, when there is a threat of a hurricane, a single person can quickly raise the bottom fifteen feet of stained-glass windows in the church, moving the precious panels above any potential water surge.
To see a video covering the restoration of St. Michael’s windows and the innovative framing system, click here.
Fr. Greg Barras, Pastor
St. Michael Catholic Church, Biloxi, MS
Architect: Gary Dedeke