My life along the Gulf coast took me to Biloxi, MS today. We met a friend from Memphis who was visiting the area for the weekend.
Last time we had been here was back in 1997, I think. Austin was born in Mobile (1995) and we would drive to the MS coast or New Orleans occasionally for daytrips and lunch out. Travis came along in 1996 and we took a trip to the MS coast again and maybe another time a year later. Anyway, it was pre-Katrina. Gorgeous historic homes lined Hwy 90, the beach was busy during the summer. Restaurants and shops were everywhere.
This time was way different. A few (not many) rebuilt homes lined the street across from the beach. Landmarks we have pictures of us standing near are gone.
The beach looked fine. There were signs of rebuilding the dunes. I’m not sure that’s what the city is doing but it looked like it. We were amazed, and the boys stared, at the empty driveways that lead nowhere, the sidewalks and steps the lead to bare concrete slabs, surrounded by trees that used to shade children playing on the lawns; for sale signs and no trespassing signs. There were still buildings boarded up along the first floor because the water had washed out all that was there: a bank, an office, the port authority building.
Then we went to the Katrina memorial.
It is a tall black tile wall next to a curved wall with a tile mosaic of a wave. There was also a sculpture made of items found in the debris and it is secured in a glass case (or something that won’t break). There are items like a 2001 t-ball trophy, a police badge, a WWI artifact, shards of china, crystal goblet, a toy, tools etc.
The cool thing I liked was in the median, along Hwy 90, there were remains of broken oaks. Someone carved these remains into lovely pieces of art: birds, dolphins, and other creatures. We couldn’t find a parking spot along the road to stop for pictures but we’ll be back again and I’ll take some pictures to add to this story. The casinos for the most part are up and running. Some are still under construction.
I hope one day soon we’ll see a vibrant town again with homes along the main street looking out at the Gulf.