Hurricane Katrina, Aug 28/29,2005, did more than destroy New Orleans. It wiped out the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Towns like Gulfport and Biloxi,along Highway 90 were completely destroyed. My wife and I used to go to this area to play mostly at the casinos.
I came across these photos recently and athough it has been almost eight years, it brought back many memories: Memories of seeing the hope and determination to rebuild and to bring these wonderful southern towns back to life.It was a beautiful area with lots of things to do and restaurants to get a good meal.
I’m writing this about Mississippi’s Gulfport and Biloxi because we visited there 18 months after Katrina. I managed to take quite a few photos not knowing what to do with them until now. This is one of the reasons that I wanted to start a blog so that I could tell what I saw and show what I saw. I think its so sad and how devastating it was to see all this destruction.
There was quite a few gorgeous antebellum homes. Many of these were Historic Homes now just wiped out. Destroyed! Completely gone, leveled to the ground. It was sad to see what was remaining and what was no longer there. The home of Jefferson Davis and the museum and all the artifacts from the Civil War that was housed in Jefferson’s museum gone. Shell station gone, McDonalds gone, Bicycle club gone and many more businesses gone.
Many many homes are gone, a lot of people left homeless. 90% of the buildings along Highway 90 wiped out. Over 235 people died in Mississippi. The storm created a 28 foot storm surge of water that wiped out nearly everything in its path for 6 to 12 miles inland. “quoted from wikipedia”. People where scurring for their attics or their roof tops and some clung to trees. It may be one of the largest disasters in the record books of storms in the USA.
Mississippi gambling laws required that the gambling part of the casinos ,the slot machines and tables, could not be on land. The casinos built their gambling portions of their casinos on barge, secured to docks with heavy steel and concrete. All of the steel and concrete was no match for Hurricane Katrina. You will see in my photographs the steel became twisted and mangled useless scrap junk. At the time, that I took these pictures, it still hadn’t been cleaned up or removed. The concrete is broken and waiting for the removal process also. The barges that the slot machines and tables were on were torn away from their mooring and ended up on shore . From what I understood the first floor of the barges were flooded. I imagine that most of those slots where totaled and the tables were probably warped.
After Katrina I believe that Mississippi changed the laws and has allowed the casinos to be built on land. Casinos are an intricate part of it’s economy.
When these pictures were taken, about 18 months after Katrina, most of the people that lost so much were still gone and waiting for help from FEMA. There were several people living in FEMA trailers on the land where their houses use to stand. There was one person that had begun rebuliding. He posted a sign in his yard, “ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY.”
There is one photo I took that tugged at my heart because I thought it was so sad yet so beautiful at the same time. It was something that someone wrote on a side board on the beach area, “I’m so sorry Gulfport I Love You.” “I too Loved Gulfport and Biloxi.”
I shot 70 Pictures and had to trim them way back to fit in this blog.. If I had been there 6 months after the hurricane I probably would have shot 200 or 300 pictures. I would have had to write a book. Jim