Sights and Sounds of Recovery
Going about errands yesterday, I realized that in some neighborhoods things were beginning to look normal. On those streets, the debris from Hurricane Katrina had been picked up and there was no more dodging tree limbs and household items that had been protruding on the street. Other than the absence of shade and the houses that had the protective tarps covering damaged roofs, it almost looked normal.
In my neighborhood, and I'm sure up and down the Mississippi Coast, there is the music of nail guns. Pop, pop, pop and you know another shingle is now in place. It is heartening to see and hear the repairs going on.
The oak trees, live oaks, water oaks, and scrub oaks, are beginning to put forth new leaves. All but the live oaks will soon be losing them again because of fall. There are more and more signs of wildlife. I can hear more birds singing. The squirrels are once again engaged in their war to wrest food from the bird feeders. I put out some pecans for them so they'll leave the bird feeders alone for awhile.
Schools and colleges are opening. Makeshift classrooms abound but they are open. There are signs everywhere for help wanted, mostly for fast food places though. Restuarants are beginning to open as are a lot of retail stores, but choices are not what they used to be. That will get better also.
Mobile homes are coming in at a fast pace to provide those who lost their homes with shelter. The Seabees are building temporary housing in Pass Christian.
There are traffic jams at all times of the day on most of the major roads. There are 30-40 minute waits at grocery stores and banks. But at least they are open.
Many people are still without phone service and some will be until January, but you see the Bellsouth trucks out everyday and they have provided phone stations for people to use free of charge.
The distribution centers for water, ice, and food are closing down as there is no longer a need for them in some areas. The temporary medical centers are closing as the local hospitals are now functioning normally. There are even a few public libraries opening, though the majority are still out of commission due to total destruction, flood damage, or wind damage.
It is not normal and it will not be for a long time but it is improvement and the dazed look that many had in their eyes is being replaced with one of hope and pride.