12/04/2005

A Drive on Hwy 90

Today I decided I needed a little retail therapy and went to Edgewater Mall in Biloxi. I'm happy to report that more stores are opened and are stocked more fully. The sad news is that some of the stores such as Walden Books will not be reopening. The Mall had more people this time around but far smaller than you would expect this time of the year. There was not a waiting line for Santa! In years past there was usually a 30 to 45 minute wait before kids could sit on his lap. But the Bath & Body Works store was open! I didn't find the dreidel I was in search of and decided to give up when most stores didn't even have Magen David necklaces. After a blissful hour of trying on shoes, I went to my Mom's. Good news to report there. Their roof has been replaced and work starts tomorrow on the room that had a lot of water damage. My Mom showed me where they had cleared everything out and when she opened the door to the room, I got a big whiff of mold and mildew, so I expect that I'll soon be taking the allergy medicine.

On the way home I decided to go by what is usually the scenic route between Gulfport and Biloxi. Hwy 90 has been closed in Gulfport since Hurricane Katrina struck. About a month ago, Biloxi had opened a stretch between Veterans Blvd and the I-110 loop between the hours of 4:00pm and 6:00pm, with no stopping allowed. Gulfport, this past Thursday, opened two of the four lanes.

The 7 mile drive that I took was surreal. There was elation that Hwy 90 was open. Then there were the tears because Hwy 90 sits on the beach. I thought myself immune to the pain of loss but it wasn't so. What started the tears was seeing that Fun Time USA was gone. I used to take my son there to play goofy golf. Then there was the destruction at the Naval Retirement Home and the brutal destruction of the Armed Forces Retirement Home. I did not stop to take any pictures, I did not have the will to stop and take any.

This 7 miles is just a small section of the 26 miles of Hwy 90. But I know that the level of destruction is the same. The best way I can relate it to someone who hasn't seen it, is for you to drive along the most scenic and historic part of town where you live and try to imagine it all gone. It defies description. But even amidst all the destruction there were signs of life and humor. There was the sign in front of a FEMA trailer that sits where a beautiful home once stood. It said Lee and Chi Chi's new digs, thanks FEMA and we'll rebuild. One sign said, Went to the Virgin Islands. All the signs and the flags that were proudly flying reflect the spirit of us on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Everywhere are the signs that say, Together, We Rebuild. And that's what it's going to take.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Felis said...

"Together, We Rebuild. And that's what it's going to take."
You will.
I am certain of that.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

felis,

No doubt.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

I did not stop to take any pictures, I did not have the will to stop and take any.
Heartbreaking, I'm sure. The rebuilding effort is going to be so massive!

3:51 PM  
Blogger Two Dogs said...

Karen, it will be better than ever. And I too was devastated to see the photos of amusement park. You are in my prayers.

4:00 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

AOW,

It is heartbreaking and yet in some weird way heartwarming. Other than crazy driving habits, people are a lot nicer to one another and extend their hands out to help one another.

two dogs,

You know the dinosaur at the amusement park in Biloxi is also gone. I haven't been to that part. But I'll keep it on faith that we'll rebuild bigger and better!

4:14 PM  

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