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   08.26.06 || Katrina - A Year Later

Words nor pictures can explain what it still looks like down there. But since I cannot get you there, I’ll have to try my best with words and pictures. I took these pictures ‘out the car window’ but they still give a good idea of the stuff I saw.

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I was sent to Mobile, Alabama for my job, which is only like 60 miles from Biloxi, MS, so I had time one night so I decided to head over there. From what I hear Biloxi got hit harder than New Orleans, just New Orleans was talked about more because of the flooding (duh when you live 8 feet below sea level, next to a sea) and there are lots of poor people there.

I've made comments on the pictures I took, try and explain what the picture is of, but I’ll describe some situations I saw.

I think we all know what a campground in the Midwest looks like, with a driveway to a flat area where you can set up your camper or tent, with grass and trees around you. Well there looks very similar, except the grass was over grown and there was brick, metal and other rubble all over, and the flat area where the driveway leads to was where the house used to be. The trees are all battered, bent over, most branches broke off, etc.

Imagine another plot just like I described, grassy area with a driveway leading to a battered foundation of a house, and leaning on a tree a single front door of a house on the property says “house for sale”. Well, all that’s left of the house is the front door.

I was surprised to see all the buildings that seem to be untouched. There is like a 7 story building below that was the Gulf Beach Resort Hotel, that is half falling down, but doesn’t seem like its been cleaned up at all.

From what I can gather from being there, --I really honestly don’t know too much about the cleanup process and stuff that happened after Katrina, I didn’t pay too much attention last year-- but it seems as if there was just demolishing crews that went through and leveled the houses that had lots of damage, and cleaned up the area. So this left lots of open grassy areas, with remnants of small debris still there. There were still lots of signs, restaurant signs, gas station signs, McDonald’s signs that were still there, but the buildings long gone.

Another interesting remnant of the happenings of the area was the building that still had the “We are home” “Will shoot” “No Looting” spray painted on the brick side of the building.

Any and all buildings that were I would say like a quarter to a half mile from the coast were basically all destroyed. There was lots of sand like a thousand feet from the beach, so there had to be water up that far. The picture of the tree out in the Gulf, full grown tree with its roots out in the Gulf, must have been dragged back when the water receded.

It is definitely something to see down there, very devastating. After seeing what I did, I wouldn’t mind going to New Orleans, but after talking to a Mobile-an he said that New Orleans downtown area is pretty well back up, most the businesses are open again, but the lower lying areas he says there is just piles of rubble. Tractors just came through and moved the rubble of houses into a pile.

It was very interesting seeing the aftermath of Katrina a year later. Another building had 8-29-05 written in spray paint along with other stuff I couldn’t see... maybe thats when FEMA went through it? There are lots of people working on their houses, trying to cleanup, rebuild. What the guy from Mobile called FEMA–trailers they had those out in front of their house because FEMA said the house wasn’t livable. People were doing what they could, some with their campers with a wood deck around them, it’s all they had.

I had GPS tracking on when I was going through this area, and I've put images of that GPS tracking, to show you were I went through. (The blue line is where I was)

GPS Whole Area View

GPS Closer View

GPS Detail View

To get an idea of what the Beau Rivage, the casino I took pictures of, looked like during Katrina, there are some really good videos of Katrina in Biloxi.

The first one, “hurricane katrina video from inside the Beau Rivage” is a video of a guy in the parking garage while Katrina came through. Really neat video to watch.