Today, while at work, I was confronted again by the horrific destruction that Hurricane Katrina has wrought on the lives of us in Mississippi. Not that I need to be reminded that often. I just have to walk out my door to see the signs of that hellish storm that changed the lives of everyone on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Yesterday, one of my bosses and I had to pick up some more equipment. We drove down Bayshore Drive in D'Iberville. On the stretch from Central Ave to Fairley Bayou there were only two homes still standing and both of those were on stilts 12 foot above the ground. There was only slabs left of the other homes. The people who used to live there had to make signs for the insurance adjustors to identify where the houses had been. Later, I walked down the same road to see close up how Fairley Bayou had faired. It was an eerie walk. The trees were strung with of the bags we had on hand to freeze shrimp. It was like seeing ghosts swaying in the trees.

It was a sad sight, seeing what were once beautiful homes gone. I also saw the boats that once graced the waters that surround the Coast flipped upside down along the road and occasionally in the trees where the storm surge had deposited them.

The bayou looked fine and there were egrets looking for food. It was strange to be able to see the interstate highway from there. Where once homes, trees, and a restaurant once stood, there was nothing. The many businesses that are on the main road have been heavily damaged. Most of the homes that were not demolished by the storm surge were flooded. The streets are strewn with the personal belongings and you see such things as mattresses, recliners, TV's, and even a computer monitor lining the ramps leading up to the interstate.

The same story is at Biloxi's Point Cadet. It suffered much because the Point has the Gulf of Mexico at the front and Biloxi Back Bay on the side. It was swamped and gutted and nothing much survived the fury of Katrina's storm surge.

I listened in dismay and horror as the Vietnamese man we buy crabmeat from related his story. His family stayed at their home on the Point. He said the water engulfed their home and they had to go on their roof. He was worried because his wife could not swim but all of them made it to the roof. Imagine staying on a roof top with winds of 125-140mph howling around you for 7 1/2 hours with water surrounding you. I can't. But that is what his family had to do and they survived. Like so many others, he has lost his home and his business. What can you say to someone who has literally lost everything except the shirt of his back?

I just asked if he had a place to stay and if he needed anything. And like so many others, he said no. He and his family are staying at a shelter provided by a local church and were getting food, water, and clothing.

I can barely take in the destruction that surrounds the place I live and love. It is difficult to describe to people who have not seen it. It is not just a little bit here and there. It stretches east from the town of Moss Point to Lakeshore in the west, a distance of under seventy miles. It stretches south from the Gulf of Mexico to Wiggins in the north, a distance of about 40 miles. The whole state of Mississippi has been affected. The state of Mississippi has lost revenue from the casinos on the Coast, timber losses in the midsection, and agriculture losses in the north.

But no matter what part of the state you go to, you will be met with friendliness and an optimism that we will be ok. Neighbors are still helping neighbors and we'll all get through this.


Blogger Esther said...

Here in Los Angeles it's hard to truly appreciate the absolute devestation happening. Thank you so much for sharing all you do about it with us. You are doing a great service making the rest of us aware.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...


It's therapy for me. The only way I can deal with it is to write about it. Even without power, I kept a journal. Can't read it though, my handwriting is atrocious.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Karen - Try Scarlet Begonias and let it run into Fire on the Mountain. They always strung these two together, and it is commonly referred to as "Scarlet Fire". It gives you a good idea of how Jery played some pretty incredible improvisational guitar.

US Blues is sort of an odd duck of a song. I never really liked it that much, either.

BTW - I think Donna Godchaux, their lead singer, is a native son of your state. She also sang backup fot Elvis for a time, I believe.
Listen to Eyes of the World as well. That is one song whose lyrics I incorporated into a blogpost recently.

Oh hell, just listen to the whole show and some of the others featured at Jponathan's site. You'll be hooked in no time!

Happy Listening!

5:52 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

I meant native daughter, but it's Alabama, not Mississippi.

6:24 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...


Will follow your suggestions and see what happens.

10:37 PM  

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