Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mississippi gulf coast

While traveling east on I-10 last Sunday I stopped in Mississippi at the welcome center and then proceeded around the corner to the Infinity Space Center to check out a commemorative brick that I had placed there a couple of years ago.  Horrors!!  They were closed!  It was Sunday, of course. Well, I was determined to see the brick and I knew I probably wouldn't be back this way again for a long time so I drove into Waveland and Bay St. Louis and found a room for the night.  My intention was to just drive back in the morning and see the brick and then be on my way down the interstate.  However, after talking with the receptionist at the hotel and listening to her retell the horrors of her experiences during hurricane Katrina, I decided to take the slower coastal route through Mississippi and see for myself what has happened in the eleven years since the hurricane took a direct hit on this coastline as the eye of the storm passed through.  I remember driving along route 90 several times years ago when I lived in Vicksburg.  I remember the glorious old mansions that graced the beach road and I had admired how they had withstood all those years (over 150) of wind and salty sea spray.  I heard they did not withstand hurricane Katrina.  That saddened me.  As I drove across the route 90 bridge from Bay St. Louis to Pass Christian I passed vacant lots and places where there was new construction.  As I got further down the road it occurred to me that the empty lots WERE where the old homes with the massive old growth trees had been and I just had to turn around and drive this section again.  I just had to, mind you.  I was flabbergasted.....and sad.  I remember those homes.  They were really gone. So were to trees.  It was a barren wind swept place. Lot after lot...empty.  I will say, though, that there is a lot of rebuilding going on.  The new houses are built on stilts.  Grand homes on stilts!  The engineering that goes into this kind of construction is remarkable.  Every once in a while I would see a nice looking home on ground level and I figured the basic house made it through the storm and it has now been restored.  The route 90 bridge has been rebuilt. The storm completely destroyed the bridge I had driven over so many years ago.  The towns are coming back to life.  Their style and way of life have been preserved.  wow

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