Another Step to Recovery

As most know, the casinos along the Mississippi Gulf Coast were tossed around like toy boats or barges by Hurricane Katrina. There is an obvious need to have these casinos land based. They employ over 17,000 people directly and most of the revenue the state government receives are from the coastal counties. Governor Haley Barbour called a special session that opened on Monday, 9-26 to propose that the casinos should be allowed to build inland. We are not talking major distances. The proposal said 800ft to 1,500ft from the water. Well, after much dickering about the morality of the casinos, the Mississippi State House voted tonight and the measure passed. It will then go to state Senate.

House Passes Bill For Onshore Coast Casinos

The Mississippi House has passed a bill to let coast casinos move 800 feet on shore. The bill passed 60-53, needing 58 votes to pass. It moves to the Senate for more debate.

The proposal comes in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Casinos were first legalized in Mississippi in 1990, but they have been restricted to the waters of the Mississippi River or the Gulf of Mexico.

This is the first serious attempt in 15 years to allow casinos on land. The proposal does not affect the river casinos. WLOX

I have enjoyed the casinos mainly for the entertainers and shows. As far as the gambling, the slot machines and blackjack tables can be fun. But it has been over three years since I gambled. I prefer to spend my money on books.

UK Supports IDF Response to Hamas Rockets

It seems that the world is looking at Israel a with kinder eyes these days. Britain's Minister of State for the Middle East, Kim Howells had strong words of support for Israel's response to the rain of Kassam rockets that Hamas let loose upon Israel this past week. He said that Israel's response was measured and appropriate. He also called on the PA to do more to end the terrorists attacks against Israel and hinted that if more is not done, financial aid maybe cut.

"The Palestinians are receiving more aid per capita than any other people on the face of the earth, and we want to see some proper response," Howells said, hinting at a decrease of economic aid if the Palestinians don't fight terror.

"I thought the retaliation this week was proportionate," said Howells about the IDF operations. "The [Palestinian] attack was a very serious one, it could have killed a lot of people. It's a miracle really there weren't more casualties."

"I think there is no excuse now," he added. "Gaza is now in the hands of the Palestinian Authority, and there are no Israeli troops there. One hopes that where tough decisions have to be made, Abu Mazen [PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas] and the PA will make them."
"We are waiting with bated breath for a response from the PA," said Howells, "and it has to be a signal that it is capable of good governance. This is not a bottomless pit that this money is coming from." Jerusalem Post

An aide had to hand him a note to prompt him about the settlements in the West Bank.

Howells said there was "incredible momentum now" and "it would be great if we had some very positive signs that Sharon understands the significance in world opinion of containing the expansion of the settlements. We are watching that very carefully."

Asked whether settlement expansion meant stopping building inside the settlements, or just putting an end to expanding them outward, Howells replied, "It means moving out, and taking by whatever means more Palestinian territory." As to Britain's position on whether building could continue inside the construction lines of existing settlements, as Israel argues, he said, "I don't know enough about that, honestly. The worry in Britain is about whether or not what emerges in the West Bank together with Gaza will be able to constitute a viable state. That's the main area of concern."

I like the quote he made about financial aid to the PA not being a bottomless pit and implying that the continuance of such aid may depend on the PA reining in the terrorist groups. It's about time. The Palestinians try to portray themselves as the victims of the world and yet they have been given more money then any other group. And what do they have to show for it? Nothing, except PA officials and leaders like Arafat who have siphoned off money and put it into foreign bank accounts while doing nothing to improve the lives of people they are supposed to help. The Palestinian people have been used since 1948 by Arab countries and their leaders and have gained nothing in their hatred of Israel and the West. All they have to show for it is a culture of death and hate.

Perhaps they are beginning to see that for themselves since Hamas only garnered 24% of the vote in elections held this week. However, Fatah received 54% and they are only marginally better than Hamas. Read more about the elections.

It is nice once to see that the some are beginning to say that Israel has a right to defend her citizens. Perhaps I was wrong about the disengagement from Gaza. For even though Israel rightfully won the territory from Egypt, the international view(which was very wrong) said Israel was there illegally. Israel has gained so much since the disengagement from Gaza. The West Bank settlements are a different issue. Perhaps Jordan could be persuaded to give territory to the Palestinians since so many of them still live in refugee camps. The refugee camps are for another post and are another example of Arab countries using the Palestinians as a screen to cover their own shortcomings.

So, Israel rejoice. For once the world is on your side and is telling the PA to stop the terrorist attacks or else the deep pockets of aid may end.

Stuck on Stupid

I really like the phrase 'stuck on stupid' uttered by General Honore' to reporters but it can used for others who don't quite get it.

Take for instance, the New Orleans police department, while I am sure that many of the officers did their duty, there were many others who didn't. This police department was known before Hurricane Katrina for such things as having police officers arrested for rape and other crimes against the people they are sworn to protect.

An investigation is being held for those police offers accused of looting. Oh wait did I say looting? Must be a mistake for according to the New Orleans police department, it's "the possibility of appropriation of non-essential items during the height of Katrina, from businesses." . Sounds a whole lot better that way!!

Another gem. Some rabbis, Al Qaeda, and this jackass State Sen. Hank Erwin of Montevallo, Ala. who had this to say: "gambling, sin and wickedness" brought God's wrath and inflicted devastation upon Mississippi. Erwin goes on to say that those in the lower 9th ward of New Orleans and those in Bayou La Batre Alabama were just 'in the way'>

And let's not leave off this one!!
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan suggested the devastation caused by Katrina was divine punishment for the violence America had inflicted on Iraq.WDSU

So the 500,000 people of New Orleans and the 400,000 people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast are being punished by God for wickedness, gambling, sin, and the Iraq war!!! Damn, and I just thought it was the vagaries of nature.

(Clarifiaction: In the article about Erwin's quote, it also stated that some rabbis have said Hurricane Katrina was the result of the Israeli pullout from Gaza)


It Still Hurts

It's been a month since Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast and left a trail of wreckage and tears that will take years to overcome. But overcome we shall. There is such a determination to rebuild and improve our beautiful Gulf Coast. Some faces have been lost to us forever. Mississippi lost 220 people to this vicious storm. Red Cross has reported that 65,000 homes in the six coastal counties have been destroyed and a further 38,000 heavily damaged. But yet,the will of the people in these counties remains strong and hope is strong. Sometimes seeing the destruction on a daily basis wears me down but yet I also see the signs of rebirth. It is seen in the clean-up that has begun. The repairing and rebuilding of businesses and homes. The debris being cleaned up. Schools are reopening as are colleges. Life is not standing still and neither are the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

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Image hosted by Photobucket.com A friend e-mailed me these pictures of what is left of his home. It stood on Highway 90 close to the Beau Rivage Casino(Biloxi). It was over 100 years old and had beautifully carved mantels and wood floors. But he and his wife are not giving up. He sends me e-mails that are full of humor.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Highway 90(Biloxi). Other than the Waffle House, I couldn't tell you what stood there.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Side street from Hwy 90(Biloxi). Car meets water heater. I don't know what building that is. My brother said it was the Margueriteville but I remember it being further down.

The following pictures were taken within a block radius of where I work(D'Iberville):

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWhen I first set out to buy a house, I had considered this one. It has been moved about 20 feet to left of where it once stood.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis one was pushed back about 30-40 feet.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com A co-worker looks over what is left of a friends house. That is Biloxi Bay in the background.

It is hard to comprehend that 65,000 people have lost their homes. It hurts when some of those homes belong to people you know and care about. The hurt will take time to heal but it will heal. And all those that I know that have lost everything are already in the process of rebuilding their homes and lives.

Australians are Very 'Patriotic'

I found this article and am so glad to see that Aussies are 'doing their duty' for their mother country!

CANBERRA, Australia - Treasurer Peter Costello urged Australians to “do their patriotic duty” and have more children but it seems they were doing it anyway, just for fun. A new study shows the birthrate hitting its highest level in seven years.

A study by Australian National University demographer Peter McDonald showed the country’s birthrate at 1.77 per woman in 2004, its highest level since 1997. McDonald believes the rate will stay around 1.8 for the next 5-10 years.MSNBC

Who knew that patriotism could be so much fun?


Dial Up - Arrrrrgh

Once again I am subjected to dial-up for internet access as Bellsouth attempts to repair the phone system that has been ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. It is a pain for it means that I will not be able to post some photos that I promised John in Tennessee.

I shouldn't complain too much. At least I do have phone service. The phone system is so bad that a lot of people will not have phone service restored until January!!

Hurricane Katrina really did a number on the things many of us take for granted: running water, electricity, a home, phones, a car, roads, and the list goes on and on.

As bad as it was and still is, it is getting better day by day. The debris piled by the roads is being cleared at an astonishing rate. More and more roofs are being repaired. The Sonic, McDonalds, my bank, grocery stores, and other businesses are opening up.


A New Tool

There is a new tool to counter anti-Semitism/Zionism. It is called Engage and is based in London. It was started as a response to the AUT boycott of two Israeli universities.

Engage challenges left and liberalanit-Semitismm in the labour movement, in our universities and in public life more generally. Antisemitism here, manifests itself mainly as anti-Zionism.

We are a resource for the monitoring and the critique of left and liberal antisemitism.

The website has two streams. One, the forum, is fast and responsive, with up to date news and opinion. This stream will also be a resource for co-ordinating campaigns. (This is the 'blog' that will be familiar to people who know our old website)

Check it out. More voices are needed to counter the rampant anti-Semitism that is becoming more prevalent even though it is being disguised as anti-Zionism.

Awash in Beauty

Another artist whose work I escape into is American painter John Singer Sargent. He spent most of his life in Europe and lived in London. The colors in the following selections are vibrant and draw you in.

The Oyster Gatherers of Cancale is at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington DC and was painted in 1878.

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I lot of the prints that I have hanging in my home deal with the sea and the harvesting of the sea. That is what drew me to this one. I do have a reproduction of this hanging in my home. He has captured so beautifully the blue of the sky at the sea. I can feel the warmth of the sand and water on my bare feet when I look at this one.

The The Garden Wall is at the Museum of Fine arts, Boston and was painted in 1910.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com This one keeps me guessing. Is there a fountain behind that garden wall? It seems to be a wall to a courtyard garden which would have one. I think these two ladies are talking and laughing about men.

Sargent's most famous painting is Madame X which caused a scandal in 1884 Paris.

Another nice escape. I do not know anything about the different techniques that are used in painting, I just enjoy what they invoke in me. Hope you enjoy my excursions as much as me.

Way to go Braves

The Braves have won the National League East Division title!!! 14th time in a row!!! GO BRAVES!!! Now if they can just keep from choking in the playoffs. They better win the World Series this year.


New Links

In the past couple of weeks I've added some new links. They are a mixed lot but all are worth a read.

The GunnNutt is a military blogger and he participates in supporting our troops at the Walter Reed Medical Centers. The numbers of those who support our troops has vastly outnumbered those anti-war mongrols Code Pink.

Dean's World is a liberal site in the sense it is open-minded. His site supports our troops and there are many different posts ranging from AIDS to poetry. Except for an obsession with Battlestar Galatica it is well worth reading and the commenters are articulate and many interesting discussions occur.

blonde sagacity is another supporter of our troops and has different posts about the men and women who serve as well as good political commentary.

Angry in the Great White North is another good source for political commentary.

This blog is Full of Crap is a cat blogger who also has devastatingly funny letters from Kofi Anon to Yassar Arafat. Read for yourself and see why he'll have you laughing.


Lifted Spirits

I had been in process of making plans to attend the Protest Warrior Operation Defend the White House and was going to use some vacation time to go up there. However, Hurricane Katrina dashed those plans.

The GunnNutt a fellow Project VALOUR-IT, has lifted my spirits. GunnNutt signed one of the banners for me and the state of Mississippi yesterday in Washington. There were many signs of real support for our troops from such groups as Free Republic, Protest Warrior, and Move America Forward.

Go and check out the pictures.

Under the Weather

I am still running a fever off and on. It was compounded today by having to stand in the shade in 95 degrees for 7 hours at the Red Cross Financial Assistance Center. If the fever continues tomorrow, I will be going to my doctor's, whose office is still standing, thankfully. While I was gone, I received an e-mail call back for a resume I had sent in. It's either the one for the secretary job or the one for the SeaBee base. I'll call in the morning to see what's what. Things are looking better at Gollott's all the time and I am in a quandary. For they are telling me that in about 3-4 weeks, we will have part of the freezer up and running and will begin production again. Maybe my best bet is to get a cashier's job that I can work at night instead of an office job for now. I love working for the Gollott's and have been there for 14 years and really don't want to work any where else.

I almost forgot my manners. I want to thank each and everyone of you who have donated to the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and all the other groups that are working so hard down here. The volunteers always seem to have a smile and sincerely care about us. Their concern for us showed in the way they made sure all of us had plenty of water, Gatorade, Powerade, and something to eat while we were waiting.

Now I am going to sign off and enjoy the Braves game. Hopefully tonight they will clinch their 14th division title. GO BRAVES.

More Normalcy

Today, students returned to school in two cities, Ocean Springs and Biloxi. The rest of the schools in coastal Mississippi hope to open between October 3 and October 15.

School's in: Biloxi, Ocean Springs restart classes


BILOXI - Students in Biloxi and Ocean Springs returned to a semi-normal routine when classes started again Monday, just four weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit South Mississippi.

Students at Beauvoir Elementary in Biloxi shared their classrooms with Gorenflo Elementary, a school that got six feet of water during Katrina.

Teachers hugged students as they arrived at school, and most were glad to be among friends and share their hurricane stories.

"I think it's good for the general public too," said Susan Brand, principal at Beauvoir. "It provides a sense of stability to everyone."

Gulfport High School also began classes Monday; most other districts in South Mississippi will open next week.

A lot of schools will have to double up. Especially in Hancock County where many schools are either gone or heavily damaged. But it's good for the kids to be able to return to school. It gives them and their parents that feeling of things getting back to normal. Slowly, but surely and one day at a time, things are improving.


Images of My New World

I was going to do a post today about Roe v. Wade but since I am running a fever will not be able to do it justice. So, instead I decided I would share some images of my new world after Hurricane Katrina.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com This is the view from my backyard. Gulfport MS

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis is my new view from work. Where the red car is, a house used to be. The also were booths and tables that Sacred Heart had for their annual bazaar held in October. There also to be many more trees.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI call this one Ghosts. All the bags in the trees were from our factory. It is eerie walking down the road with the bags swaying in the wind and it truly feels like ghosts are present. Bayshore Dr, D'Iberville MS

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAlso on Bayshore Dr., The building in the far back is what's left of the factory. The slab on the left is all that remains of Seymour's Bait shop.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis lady from Michigan is one of the many selfless volunteers of the Red Cross who have been providing hot meals in cities up and down the coast.

Redneck or Not?

I received the following e-mail from cricket, a fellow member of the South Mississippi Protest Warriors:

You might be a Redneck if:

We have enjoyed the redneck jokes for years. It's time to take a reflective look at the core beliefs of a culture that values home, family, country and God. If I had to stand before a dozen terrorists who threaten my life, I'd choose a half dozen or so rednecks to back me up. Tire irons, squirrel guns and grit -- that's what rednecks are made of. I hope I am one of those.

If you feel the same, pass this on to your redneck friends.

Ya'll know who ya' are...

You might be a Redneck if:

1. It never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase, "One nation, under God."

2. You've never protested about seeing the 10 Commandments posted in public places.

3. You still say "Christmas" instead of "Winter Festival."

4. You remove your hat and bow your head when anyone prays.

5. You stand and place your hand over your heart when they play our National Anthem.

6. You treat Viet Nam vets with great respect, and always have.

7. You've never burned an American flag, but would kick someone's ASS that did.

8. You know what you believe and you aren't afraid to say so, no matter who is listening.

9. You respect your elders and expect your kids to do the same.

10. You'd give your last dollar to a friend.

If you got this email from me, it is because I believe that you, like me, have just enough Red Neck in you to have the same beliefs as those talked about above. God Bless the USA!

I know I am a redneck!! In response to #7, though I would never ever burn our flag, I would not kick someone's a@@ for doing so. I don't like it but if someone is stupid enough to burn our flag, that most precious symbol of freedom, let them. Let the folks in the media show the stupidity of those burning it and I might suggest that those fellow countrymen of ours who feel compelled to burn our flag in our country, go to say, Cuba, and see what happens to you when you burn the Cuban flag. On the list, #8 gets me into a lot of trouble sometimes, but I jump right in and state my opinion even if it is unpopular. I will come right out and say it. I believe that the Confederate flag is a symbol that needs to be given up and gives the past a romantic slant that never was. I have three ancestors who fought on the Confederate side, two who were killed, one from bullet wounds suffered at Gettysburg and the other from wounds suffered from a battle in Virginia, though I am not sure which one.

I also have a one that fought for our liberties in the American Revolution, though details are very sketchy. One that fought in the War of 1812, one in the Battle of the Little Big Horn, one in WWII who lost his arm. So to me the Confederate flag is a slap in the face to the United States of America. These words have meaning, united states, not divided states. President Lincoln held our great nation together and a massive, bloody war was fought and brave men on both sides gave up their lives. But thank God, the union of the states was preserved.

I have very many interesting arguments about this issue but this is my opinion.


Visiting, the Beach, & Pizza

Today, I went to Biloxi again and as always it was good to visit and laugh with loved ones. The traffic situation has vastly improved from 2 weeks ago and it only took 15 minutes for the drive. I decided to go down to Beth Israel Synagogue which is only a half mile from my sister's. I was able to walk down to the beach from there. I knew what to expect and the businesses and homes along Highway 90 are gone or heavily damaged. But it was good to see the beach though I still cannot walk upon it. I saw some brown pelicans flying majestically and it did my heart good. For it seemed as though their flight was telling me that not all is gone.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comBeth Israel Synagogue suffered heavy damage. Most of the bricks on the top half of the building are gone and though you can't see it in the photo, the roof was damaged as well. I could see the tarp that covered the roof billowing in the wind.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis is what is left of Treasure bay Casino. The casino is shaped like a pirate ship and even had sails on the masts, which were kept furled. The barge was docked behind the entrance building to the casino, Katrina moved it to the front.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comOn my way home, I stopped on the bridge over the Intercoastal Seaway to photograph the boats that had sought refuge there from Katrina. It wasn't much of a refuge for many of the boats. The ones pictured are part of the shrimping fleet.

Before going home, I had to stop at the grocery store. I tried the Super Wal-Mart first but it was so crowded, there wasn't any parking spaces left. So I proceeded to Winn-Dixie. This is where the pizza comes in. I have been craving pizza since after Katrina hit. The stores are just now starting to get in supplies on a regular basis. And I was able to get a frozen pizza today!! It wasn't a Chicago deep dish but it tasted oh so good. Next up, a chili cheeseburger with onions from the Sonic!!

They Go Where No One Else Can

There is a dedicated group of men and women who serve our country with little fanfare. They do their job quietly and save many lives and protect our waters. They are the men and women of the US Coast Guard. When they are not rescuing boaters who have gotten into trouble, they patrol the harbors and waters of the US to guard against terrorist attacks.

What they did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is astonishing. From my house, I could see them flying toward the Big Biloxi River on rescue missions. This was one of the rivers that was heavily flooded during the storm. But this was just part of their mission. They were flying all over the Mississippi Gulf Coast and saved countless lives. But the scope of what they faced and did in New Orleans is astounding.

Forty-three Coast Guard helicopters from 11 air stations converged on the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, to save more that 12,500 lives.

Coast Guard small boats and cutters rescued another 11,600 and combined service units evacuated 9,400 patients from hospitals.

Most of the rescues occurred from Aug. 30, the day after Katrina hit, through Sept. 3, when an unprecedented swarm of Coast Guard units was joined by units from other armed forces, as well as federal, state and local law agencies.SunHerald

Thank you to those dedicated men and women of the US Coast Guard.

UPDATE: Mark from Knocking on the Golden Door provided this link to the US Coast Gusard



Political cartoonist Chip Bok is currently in Biloxi Mississippi. His cartoons have been appearing in the SunHerald.

Here are a couple which I really liked:

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You can see more of his work at Comics.

Finally, a political post in which I have managed to allude to the inherent problem of New Orleans and also property rights!!

Houses of Faith

Mississippi has houses of faith on just about every street. The ones on the Coast suffered under the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina. It didn't matter which faith: Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, Catholic, Lutheran, or Jewish.

The Catholic Diocese of Biloxi suffered the loss of 14 churches. Many were heavily damaged, including the one in which I was confirmed, Sacred Heart in D'Iberville. I used to live in D'Iberville 23 years ago and now kinda of sort of still work there.

The First Baptist Church on Highway 90 in Gulfport is no more. The only thing left is the steeple. That one hurts also. A lot of churches have buses that pick up children to attend and I used to ride one to that church. It was also wonderful to look at that majestic church from the beach and was a landmark. It survived Hurricane Camille.

Beth Israel synagogue suffered heavy damage. The back half of the building is gone but a member said that all the Torah Scrolls were safe.

The Church of the Redeemer, Episcopal, which was famous for only having it's bell tower survive Hurricane Camille, is now famous for every thing being destroyed this time. Even the memorial for the those killed during Hurricane Camille suffered damage. There was one thing from the church that survived both storms, a stained glass panel of Jesus with his arms outstretched. This article in the SunHerald has the full story and pictures.

The thing is that even though many houses of faith are gone, the communities and the faith of those who worshiped there are not gone. Catholic masses are being held in surviving Methodist churches. Services are held in the open or under tents. The buildings maybe gone but the faith is still there.


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.


Day Trip

Since I can't escape the scenes of destruction here, I decided to go on a day trip and find some beauty. One of my favorite artists is Cluade Monet. You can fall into his dreamy paintings with little effort. He is a master of the Impressionist movement.

I have three cheap reproductions of his at home and can spend an hour or two just looking at the colors and imaging being in the pictures. I found this online gallery and was in heaven. I really must add the Musee d'Orsay in Paris to my list of museums to visit.

What a view to greet you in the morning. I can envision a slight haze in the air as he painted this one.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com Garden in Bordighera, Impression of Morning

This one I can imagine him waking up and still being sleepy as he painted. The vivid colors of the garden are blended together to form a purple carpet that leads to the coolness of the blue indicating a fountain and pool.
Image hosted by Photobucket.com The Artists Garden at Giverny

I need to take more of these day trips. It is so relaxing and refreshing to see beauty and escape in the paintings for awhile.

Making Lemonade

A few observations about the past three weeks after Hurricane Katrina and a lame attempt to make lemonade out of the lemons I have been given:

On the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

1. I have lost ten pounds!!!
2. I now have a decent tan from working out in the yard cleaning up debris, from the 12 days I cooked on the grill outside and hung up hand washed clothes!!!
3. My neighbors are just as weird as me!!
4. Debate whether or not to shoo away the moths at the plants I have for butterflies
5. Decide whether or not to replant the dwarf holly 'bush' that was partially uprooted(Dwarf in quotes because it's over 10 feet tall now)
6. Swerve skills are vastly improving to avoid debris that has fallen from the trucks that are hauling it off

On being sort of kinda employed or how to deal with all that 'free' time:

1. Catch up on Judge Judy
2. I have more time to teach my bird to whistle the theme song for The Bridge Over the River Kwai(He can whistle the first few notes!!)
3. I can now rearrange my furniture at least once a week
4. I have been becoming more acquainted with domestic household items such as vacuums cleaners, mops, brooms, dust cloths, etc. Why what for spring to do spring cleaning?
5. Call and harass my family and friends more than 15 times a day
6. Try to catch up on my reading. (Can't seem to sit still long enough for this one)

Things to do while repeatedly hitting the redial button in a vain attempt to reach Red Cross Financial Assistance:

1. Leave incoherent comments at other web-sites
2. Cuss at the oh so heartening message: "The phones lines are being overwhelmed. More operators are being added. You are about to receive a busy signal, hang up and try again"
3. Scan different news sites and see how many different ways people can blame President Bush for the incompetence of the local and state officials of New Orleans and Louisiana
4. See how many cigarettes you can smoke before becoming sick
5. Time yourself to see how long it takes you between hanging up and hitting the redial button(Around 1 second now!!!)
6. Listen when you get no dial tone and see if you can hear anything or anybody, like Elvis Presley or the theme song for The Bridge Over the River Kwai , etc
7. Watch the Braves struggle since Chipper Jones is no longer on the Disabled list
8. Ponder the questions of life, liberty, and the universe
9. Decide after trying from 2:00am to 3:00am with no results to write a lame post such as this one!!



I have bumped this post up. It was orginally posted on September 17. Thanks to John at Wuzzadem for posting and linking to it.

After Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the firemen and policemen of the cities were out there. The firemen in Gulfport cleared Dedeaux Road, a main thoroughfare in Gulfport even before the winds had stopped blowing, allowing me and others to get to our homes and insuring the safety of citizens.

They and policemen were also involved in rescuing people, again before the winds had subsided. Many of the firestations and police buildings were destroyed or heavily damaged. Many of the homes of the policemen and firemen were destroyed or heavily damaged. Did they go on vacation to Las Vegas? No, they stayed and worked around the clock to insure the safety of the citizens up and down the coastal cities.

They are still working around the clock along with help from police departments from Indiana, Missouri, Florida, and many others. These men and women have shown what duty means and still have not had a chance to attend to the business of looking after their homes.

The city of Gulfport has set up a fund to help those firemen and police officers whose homes were destroyed or heavily damaged.

The Gulfport Emergency Response Benefit Fund is set up for financial relief of the city of Gulfport police officers, firefighters and departmental employees who have suffered partial and full loss of homes and property due to Hurricane Katrina.

Several officers, firefighters, city workers and support personnel lost their homes, vehicles and personal belongings in the storm.

Many have been working extremely long hours to serve citizens of their communities.

All of the funds will be directed toward the effort to support and assist them.

Donations can be made at any Whitney National Bank between Tampa, Fla., and Houston, Texas, or you can wire 065000171, a PayPal-friendly Internet site at www.gulfportpd.com. Contributions can also be mailed to 2186 Collins Blvd., Gulfport, MS 39507.

Details: 518-0337, Lt. Leonard Papania; 518-0134, Det. Darrin Corrie or 539-0402, Det. Billy Stage.Sun Herald

As soon as I am my feet, I will be contributing to this fund. If you can help out please do so. These men and women did not resign, did not turn their backs on looters, and did not go on vacation. They did their duty and how I wish I could help them!!

Mark from Knocking on the Golden Door provided this great link in a comment he left. The link describes some of the antics of the New Orleans police which I alluded to in this post but did not name names.

A New Beginning

Arising like a phoenix from the cleared rubble of our offices, a new beginning:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

It's a 30x10 trailer and will have to hold 7 or more people. But we'll manage. The back of the trailer which will be my office and one other is where my desk used to be in the old office. One of my bosses remarked that now I had a great view of the Back Bay. Which is true because Katrina wiped out the houses and most of the trees which were behind there.

Work has begun on the freezer and the newest section will be repaired first so that we can start freezing shrimp again. We maybe able to start peeling shrimp in about 3-4 weeks. There were a couple of seafood plants on the south side of Biloxi Back Bay that survived and arrangements are being made to use those facilities at night so we can go into production. A lot of our customers have contacted us via e-mail and are awaiting our product.

Most of the rubble of the seafood plant has been cleared. It will not be to soon before construction of the new plant will begin.

Once again the utility companies have performed another miracle. There is virtually nothing left the two blocks were our business is and yet Mississippi Power was able to restore our power. Bellsouth performed another miracle today and we now have phones at the offices!!

Mississippi and it's people rock!!! Reconstruction and rebuilding are going at a faster pace then was first believed. Just keep watching. Hurricane Katrina may have changed our world, she may have taken very precious lives, and she may have destroyed so much but there is one thing that Katrina are any other hurricane can destroy and that is the will of the people to rebuild and make it bigger and better.

Today has been a very good day. I was able to go to work and any day I can do that is a good day.


Proud to be From Mississippi

Tom Johnston from Warrenville, IL came down to get his son after Hurricane Katrina. His son lived in Ocean Springs and his home was destroyed. Mr. Johnston was impressed by the people of Mississippi and their eagerness to help others before themselves.

His article From the rubble, they rose like ghosts in the dark is a testament to the good people of Mississippi who even through the rubble of once had been their homes, were more concerned about their neighbors down the street.

After finding him, it was night by the time we were ready to leave and head back north but I still had a carload of stuff that I knew would be needed by unfortunate people in devastated areas. My son suggested that we head to Pascagoula and distribute those things.

Having seen and read of looting and violence in some areas of destruction, especially New Orleans, I was a bit apprehensive about going into an area of destruction. I had visions of people fighting over the things that I had to offer, but my son and I went, despite those reservations.

What I found when we arrived in a very badly hit area of Pascagoula was a testament to the goodness of people in general and of the people of Mississippi specifically. Misfortune on such a scale brings out the best and worst in people, but in Mississippi I found nothing but the best.

Pascagoula had been hit very hard. We went into lower middle-class neighborhoods, and the devastation was almost unimaginable - trees down, power lines on the ground everywhere. It was pitch dark. It was difficult to tell where one house ended and another began. The remains of destroyed houses, roofs, downed trees, cars, trucks, etc., were all mixed in heaps. It reminded one of the destruction of war.

There was a new moon and it was totally dark, with the exception of our headlights as we passed through the debris. It was surreal.

As we drove up and down the streets, it appeared that the area was totally abandoned. I saw no sign of people. We would stop and shut off the engine in the rubble here and there and the stillness was almost deafening.

Then we would call out softly, "Is anyone there?"

And slowly, dark forms would emerge from the rubble - little children, old people, white people, black people, all kinds of people. It was like dark ghosts were forming out of the rubble or dead people were rising up out of their graves. It's hard to explain how eerie it was to someone who has not seen it.

The people were obviously hungry and thirsty and their clothes were torn and they smelled.

Then an amazing thing happened. We asked them if they needed anything and, in almost every instance, they would quietly say that they had plenty! They would tell us that we should check down the street and point the way to another rubble heap.

While there was some looting along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it was few and far between. In fact the majority of us have taken on the attitude that we are all neighbors now. It doesn't matter if you live in Moss Point, Pascagoula, Ocean Springs or Gautier. You are neighbors with those in Biloxi, Gulfport, Long Beach, Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis, Waveland and the many other cities in the six coastal counties of Mississippi. This storm has made us grow closer to one another. Skin color does not even register anymore. We all survived that monster Katrina and have cried together, hugged one another, prayed together, helped one another, and now are in the process of rebuilding together. And I cannot forget the generous help of groups such as the Southern Baptist Convention, Catholic Social Charities, St. Vincent De Paul Society, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, and the many, many others who have so selflessly volunteered their time and provided medical care, food, and shelter to those who lost everything.

Make no mistake, Mississippi is a strong community of people who are committed to rebuilding our beautiful coast and as I have said before, just watch us!!

Defender of Justice Has Died

Patrick at Clarity & Resolve has posted some sad news today. Simon Wiesenthal has died at the age of 96. He was a great fighter for justice and by his fight brought over 1,100 Nazi War Criminals to justice. May he rest in peace.

Simon Wiesenthal, the famous Nazi Hunter has died in Vienna at the age of 96, the Simon Wiesenthal Center announced today (September 20th).
Overcoming the world’s indifference and apathy, Simon Wiesenthal helped bring over 1,100 Nazi War Criminals before the Bar of Justice.

There will be a news conference at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Tuesday, September 20th at 10 am.Simon Wiesenthal Center


The Southern Women's Guide to Changing a Tire

My car had a flat tire the second day after the storm and I had been using that little spare that cars come equipped with until Saturday. Below is a guide on the Southern woman's art of changing a tire. It is usually effective and works quite well most times.

Step 1: Make sure your neighbor who knows about cars is outside

Step 2: Take the spare out and place in such a way that your neighbor is sure to see it

Step 3: Take out the jack

Step 4: Stare at the jack in perplexity until your neighbor comes over

Step 5: Allow your neighbor to change the tire for you

Step 6: Thank him profusely and explain that since you've only had this car for a little under a year, you were not used to the jack(the car did come with a crappy jack that was impossible for me to turn)

Step 7: In case your flat occurs on the highway or along another road, most men will stop and offer to change your tire for you, in the South at least. However, this can be dangerous and your best options are to phone your brother, wait for a State Trooper or police officer to pull up and change it for you, attempt to change it yourself unless your jack is crappy, or after 15 minutes, call your Mom for the number of a tow truck company.

Remember, Step 7 needs for you to have a cell phone. Any questions?


The other morning I woke from a dream in which I had been screaming. I don't know if I actually screamed aloud though. I didn't wake my son and he has been so protective of me lately that I am sure he would have come running in to see what was going on. What is so unusual about this dream is that I never scream. I did not even scream, moan, or groan while giving birth and that hurt like hell!!

The dream started off nicely enough. People were swimming in Biloxi Back Bay and enjoying themselves. That was weird in itself, for they looked like tourists and no one swims that close to the plant. I was back at work in the new offices. My co-workers and I were out on the docks looking across Biloxi Back Bay. We were trying to figure out what used to be where. You know, that was where such and such had a house, that used to be where such and such business used to be.

Then I asked the question, 'Why does the air look so dirty?'. All of a sudden, in the trees across the Bay you could see the trees being whipped around by a huge gust of wind. You could tell the wind was heading for us. We all scrambled to our feet, each of us screaming our heads off and ran into the offices and ducked under the desks. The wind tore off the awning that had been covering the dock.

I guess it's to be expected to have nightmares about going through the storm itself. It scared me like nothing else I have been through. Since Hurricane Katrina made landfall during the day, you could see everything that was going on. I have never seen trees whipped like that. The sound the wind made was indescribable, loud, and unrelenting. Debris was flying past windows and during the worst part of it, my family was gathered in the living room, staring blankly at the destruction going on outside and praying and hoping that the roof over our heads would not be ripped off. I cannot describe those long hours adequately. This storm took so long to go through, we did not think it would ever end. But it did.

There are so many things that each one of us has to deal with now. The terror during the storm, the shock at the massive destruction the storm caused, and the rebuilding of our lives. I lost it this weekend. I mean really lost it. I got drunk for the first time in over 20 years. It helped me have a decent night's sleep and am feeling a whole lot better.


It's a job that makes even big boys cry, but we'll get it done

In today's SunHerald there was an e-mail from Mark Flemmons from Cleveland MS and who works for Modern Communications. It is a long e-mail and details the efforts of the people of the small town of Cleveland MS to help those evacuees from New Orleans and those from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Cleveland MS is a small town of just over 13,000 that is the north west corner of the Mississippi Delta and has a rich heritage of blues music and is the home of Delta State University. This e-mail made me realize that we in Mississippi have always helped one another out and will do so again. It brings out the spirit of the majority of those who live in Mississippi and the can do and take charge attitude we have. Below are some excerpts. If you have the time, read all of it at It's a job that makes even big boys cry, but we'll get it done

Nationally, everybody is so focused on what's going on in New Orleans, the Mississippi story is going un-reported.

It's one of the bright things that is happening now.

We are not leaving our people to wallow and starve in their own filth, and the cadavers of loved ones. We're finding the live ones and getting them north as fast as possible. Most of the hundreds showing up here have at least had a meal and a bath.

Gov. Haley Barbour and his administration will come out as true heroes in this disaster once the total story is told. The differences between the Louisiana and Mississippi responses are truly startling. Haley and MEMA had already had Mississippi declared a disaster area two days before Katrina hit. What does that mean? A lot.

It means we had a two-day head start on recovery. It means we had pre-positioned response teams - fully equipped! It means we had supplies being loaded on trucks to go to the Coast while the hurricane was still going on. It means federal representatives from FEMA were already in state when it hit.

We've been dealing with looters a little differently on the Coast... . Unlike New Orleans, it hasn't been a big problem. In the case of breaking in to get survival supplies - food and water - the police have shot the locks off doors and helped take the stuff to distribution points.

School buses hauling refugees to shelters north - an idea Louisiana just now figured out - have been running since the day after the storm. They are pouring in here by the hundreds. Red Cross has been doing a great job of setting up relief shelters in our area. Local governments have opened all of the convention centers and school auditoriums to them. I know it's hard to believe, but the first week's local Friday night football games were all canceled. Our efforts were needed elsewhere.


Most of us cry at least once a day. You can't deal with the hundreds we have coming in here every day and not be affected.

I've seen big bears break down and just fall apart - mostly blaming themselves for not getting out in time. In many cases that choice cost him a wife, a child or maybe both. They all say the same thing: "I didn't think it would get that bad." All you can do is listen and try to comfort.

Sometimes you see guys just staring into the sunset, not saying anything, but you see those jaw muscles working hard to hold it in. I had one tell me yesterday, "We had to choose - stay in the attic and drown, or climb on the roof into a 150 mile-an-hour wind. She was screaming my name as she flew away."

How do you respond to that? You don't. You just cry with him and listen.

Loose children who don't know where Mama or Daddy are, or even if they're alive. Ten-year-olds trying to be "mama" or "daddy" to a little sister or brother. It will tear your heart out.

Most of these folks know there is nothing to go home to. The house is gone, and, in most cases, the job too. They show up here with the clothes on their backs, and that's it. It's all they have left. It's hard, just too hard for words. You do what you can, but...

Forget about "Mississippi Burning." That was our dark, distant past. Watch us now. This is Mississippi today.

We've opened our homes, hearts and wallets to strangers in need. We don't care if they are white, black, brown or polka-dotted. We're going to be OK. It will take years, but we're dealing with it. We will deal with it the way only a true Southerner can - one day at a time.

Forget about "Mississippi Burning." That was our dark, distant past. Watch us now. This is Mississippi today. This should be Mississippi's new slogan because it has not mattered for a long time what color your skin is in Mississippi or what religion. We are all in this together and we will pull each other up and lean on each other and we will rebuild together. We will rebuild one individual, one house, and one street at a time and just watch us. It will be better than ever and those strong values that we share of respect for your elders, respect for your parents, and respect for family will show us the way.

That is what I forgot when I wrote my post about the Red Cross. We'll deal with it one day at a time. Hurricane Katrina can make the strongest cry and at times, my spirit seems to be broken. But then I get up the next day and do the mundane things such as the laundry, washing dishes, vacuuming and try to remember how grateful I am. All of my family is safe and we all have roofs over our heads. And things will be a little better the next day, the day after that, and continue to get better each day.


Image hosted by Photobucket.com This was taken yesterday while I was stopped in traffic on Pass Road. A similar picture had been featured in the SunHerald a couple of weeks ago. Apparently the US flag that is draped around the statue of Jesus was put there by Katrina.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com I took this picture back in May to send to some of the men and women I send packages to via Books for Soldiers.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com This is not quite the same angle, for when I took the before picture back in May, I was standing on the dock at Gollott's seafood. But you can see some of the devastation. Notice how dirty the water is. That is from all the debris. The trees in the background are live oaks. The leaves on live oaks usually remain green year round. In keeping with my policy of not showing the destruction of neighbors homes, you will not see the total destruction of the five houses that were to the right of this photo. There is nothing but slab left of those homes. I believe everyone evacuated before the storm. The boats must have been sent to safe harbor before the storm.

The Lighter Side

Yesterday, after leaving my Mom's, I had the radio cranked up and was listening to Sweet Home Alabama. The radio station I tuned too was playing some very good Southern Rock. After turning on Lorraine-Cowan Road, the traffic thinned out considerably and I soon found myself going 60mph, the car windows were open, good music was playing, and it felt good to be alive.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comIt's a good thing a didn't have my dog with me, she may have ended up like this one!

I had to pull into a gas station and while waiting in line, had some really good entertainment there. There was an ATF(Alcohol, tobacco, & Firearms) agent in front of me. In front of her was a gentleman(?) buying a beer. He turned to her and asked who she was with. She explained very pleasantly who she was. He then said, "Oh, you're a policeman". She indicated yes. Then he spent the next 5 minutes stating his case that though he had already had one beer today, he was not drunk and the second one would not make him drunk, and that the 95 degree temperature would soon have him sweating any alcohol that his body absorbed. She suggested a better idea would be to eat something.

He then stated he had already been arrested before and didn't need to be arrested again. Keep in mind the ATF agent was in line waiting to pay for her lunch that she got at the Subway located in the station. She never indicated once in her demeanor or by anything she said that she was going to arrest him.

After he made the statement about having been arrested before, he backtracks and states that it was his ex-wife that had him arrested and that basically women were evil creatures. You have to hand it to the ATF agent, she did not lose her cool nor did she snicker at the poor man like the rest of us in line did. She did make a sarcastic comment that yeah women were at the heart of all men's problems.

Anyways after the man left the store and it was my turn in line, I was holding in the laughter so hard as were most of the people in line and as was the cashier, it took a few seconds to get hold of myself before I could request the cigarettes I came in for.


The Disgrace of the American Red Cross

Mississippi has been hit hard by Hurricane Katrina and the American Red Cross is providing shelter, supplies, and meals and doing a great job with that part. Why then I am saying they are a disgrace? Because the financial aid centers and phone center are a disgrace at least to those in Mississippi. I don't know about the situation in Louisiana but I do know about it in Mississippi.

The different financial centers set up by the Red Cross in different cities along the Mississippi Coast are only set up to help between 200-300 people a day. There are only five or six such centers.

For the past ten days, I have been trying to get through to 1-800 number set up by the Red Cross for financial assistance. I have received nothing but busy signals until today. I was overjoyed to hear the phone ringing. That joy soon turned to anger. The message I received was insensitive and frustrating. The message basically said they had too many calls coming in and a few seconds I would hear a busy signal and to hang up and try again. In other words they are hanging up on me and others who are seeking financial assistance due to lack of jobs, the destruction of homes, etc.

I called the Red Cross headquarters and was treated very abrasively and felt like I was being told to get lost. He said they were handling 100,000 calls a day. I responded that I was pretty sure the Red Cross was getting that many calls from people wanting to donate and there didn't seem to be problems with getting the necessary phone operators and telephone lines for that. I asked why they couldn't set up registration on line. He said it would take three times as long to do it that way. Bullshit. He said he couldn't help me and I asked him to get me someone who could. I was given the brush off.

UPDATE: 9/18/05 I am not the only one:

Laura Williams, who said it was the fifth day in a row she had "gotten the runaround," said she'd been dialing the American Red Cross toll-free number for days and all she got was a busy signal.

Getting through takes persistence, but many are doing so.

Winnie Romeril, a spokesperson for the Red Cross, said Saturday afternoon the organization had 700 operators staffing that toll-free number - 1-800-975-7585 - and on Saturday alone, they had taken 12,500 calls. Calls since the number went active reportedly total 321,000.Sun Herald

On Saturday, they are bragging about taking 12,500 calls. Does that mean people that were actually helped or the total number of calls that were received? Does that total include the number of people that got that message that they were overwhelmed by the number of calls and then hung up on? I know one thing, if this had been a federal agency, the news media would be hounding it to death, but since certain government officials can't be blamed, unless you are in the middle of the devestation zone, you won't hear too much about it. I was able to reach FEMA with no problem other than the fact I did not qualify for any help other than Major Disaster Unemployment. You have to go through the Mississippi Unemployment Office to receive that. Nor did I run into any problems contacting the unemployment office even though the phones in Jackson Mississippi can be just as unreliable as the ones on the Coast. So what gives?

The people of the United States of America are so compassionate and want to help. The amount donated to the Red Cross was unprecedented. Think about it. The Red Cross has released this 800 number since the first week of the storm. Since then, they have repeatedly said they would be getting more phone lines and operators. So 20 days after Katrina hit, they are still promising more phone lines and operators? Can you imagine what it must feel like for someone who has lost their home, their job, and with just the clothes on their back, hearing that message from the Red Cross?

I know the number of people who need help is staggering. But the message that I got yesterday was so disheartening and then to be hung up on was infuriating. At least FEMA tells you nicely what your wait time will be and then gives you the options of holding or hanging up and trying again later. I hate to say it, but the Federal government and the Mississippi state government has been a lot more compassionate than the Red Cross in this matter.


I don't know if anyone from Chicago reads this blog but I have a favor to ask. For the past couple of days I have been wishing for something that only Chicago has. There is a restaurant/grill not too far from Wrigley Field that has the best deep dish pizza in the world. Since I can't make it up there, will someone please go there, order two slices, and a dark Heineken beer and enjoy it for me. Please!!


I just got DSL back. I have not had phone service or internet access for the past 15 hours. I still do not have phone service. Time to go out and get my Mom's birthday present!! Her birthday was 15 days ago and at that time, we could not get her the gift she wanted.



Today is one of those days when I am full of anger and am asking the question, why? Why was Mississippi so devastated by Hurricane Katrina? Is it a punishment from God? I mean really, Mississippi was already the poorest state in the nation. Why us? Tears of anger are in my eyes once again. But you know these tears are healthy ones. It is the ones who still have the numb looks and glazed eyes after 18 days that are the ones who are in trouble.

In the post below, the Red Cross estimates that 65,000 homes have been destroyed here. I have been thinking a lot about that figure, 65,000 homes. That is the size of the city of Gulfport, my city.

So, again, is this some sort of punishment from God? People often speculate about that after disasters such as this and like the tsunami that struck in the Indian Ocean last year.

I want to curse, scream, shout, and punch something right now. But who or what? I guess it will have to be God because He is the only one that can absorb the grief and anger that people up and down the Coast are bond to feel.

So God, even though I am counted among the lucky 1,600 whose home was affected by Hurricane Katrina, why did You have to take away everything else? Why did You have to take away my job? Why did You have to wipe away those places I dearly love, such as the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, the Gulfport Small Craft Harbor, the Long Beach Small Craft Harbor? Why did You have to damage Bayou Bernard? Why did You take away from me the simple pleasure of walking along a pier or the beach? Why did You destroy the homes of so many that I care about?

Do these questions of why, help? Yes they do. It acknowledges the grief over the things that are no more. Things that will forever be changed. Faces of co-workers I will no longer see because they have pulled up stakes and left.

So again, was Hurricane Katrina some sort of punishment sent by God? No, it wasn't. Hurricanes have a purpose. They cleanse bayous and swamps. They have cycles of being very active and not so active, just as sun spots do.

Hurricane Katrina is a test of all those affected by it. I have been reading the Book of Job. It seems appropriate to be reading this for he was visited by many afflictions and lost everything. He had those friends who tried to convince him that it was a punishment sent by God because of something he did. Job cursed God. He cursed his friends. But did he lose faith in God? No he did not. He persevered in his faith as many down here are doing. Maybe Mississippi was chosen because there are so many people of faith here. You see, after the first trucks from FEMA came in, the Coast was sent another deluge. A deluge of help from such groups as the Southern Baptist Convention, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and so many other groups. I have met people from Phoenix Arizona, Indiana, Minnesota, South Carolina, Texas, and so many other states.

A lot of people question whether religion has a purpose and whether there is even a God. Religion does have a purpose. It allows people to get together and help those in need. It instills sound character traits that allows those affected by tragedy to overcome. As for the question about the existence of God, God does exist.

I am angry but my faith in God is not shaken nor is my faith in humanity shaken. I have seen the good in people. People who are coping by sharing, by helping, and by laughing together. So even in this sea of devastation, the good people of Mississippi are huddling together. It does not matter if you are white, black, Hispanic, or Vietnamese. We are huddled together and are praying together and are rebuilding together.



According to the Red Cross this is what is left of the 171,000 homes in the six coastal counties of Mississippi:

65,000 destroyed

38,000 have major damage

51,000 have minor damage

1,300 are affected

16,000 are unaffected

These figures are for houses only. It does not include the apartments or trailers affected. It is estimated that 20% of the apartments are unlivable.Sun Herald

Hurricane Katrina has devastated these counties homes and businesses: Hancock County, Harrison County, Jackson County, George County, Stone County, and Pearl River County.

Something Saved

The Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. There has been something saved, the two replica oyster schooners are safe and came to Biloxi's Point Cadet, where the museum used to stand, under full sail.

BILOXI - The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum's pair of replica oyster schooners hoisted sail on a bright and beautiful Thursday morning and came out of their hiding place up the Biloxi River to make a victory voyage around Biloxi's tip before docking at Point Cadet Marina.

Their Victory? They survived Hurricane Katrina intact, unlike the museum itself and much of the Point Cadet neighborhood.

The Glenn L. Swetman schooner and the Mike Sekul schooner were built in the late 1980s in homage to Biloxi's centuries-old seafood industry and the old oyster schooners that sailed in and around the Mississippi sound. Besides being available for charters, the two boats are symbols of something more, said Robin Krohn David, the museum's executive director.

"They're part of our history," David said. "That's why we came under full sail - so people could see us and have a little hope."

With two sturdy long leaf yellow pine masts on each boat and strong cypress hulls, the boats made it through with barely a scratch, a bit of luck that many of the other boats tied up nearby did not have, said Capt. Brandon Boudreaux, who's been at the helm of at least one of the schooners for five years.

"I never in my life thought I'd see something like this," said Boudreaux, who started as a deckhand on one of the boats 15 years ago. "There were boats in the trees, up in the woods. I had goosebumps when I saw them."

Read more about this story in Friday's editions of the Sun Herald.Sun Herald

Super Duper News

My son, Jeremy, spent his first full day gainfully employed. He said it was alright. In my quest for a job, I may have one, with the company that John, my ex-husband, works for!! He called and told me about it and told them about me. In fact, when he called me and after talking to me, handed the phone to the girl doing the hiring. I told her what I do. Basically, my job can be described as a comptroller even though I only have an Associate's Degree.

Anyway, John called me a little while ago and said after the phone interview, the girl I spoke with said I was over qualified and told the other girl in the office, "She does what you do!". The other girl replied that I am what they are looking for, someone who can keep track of invoices and warranties of large contracts for various businesses along the Coast that have begun the rebuilding process.

I went into work today at Gollott's to straighten out some computer problems. Apparently a very intelligent 8 year old, who knows computers very well had some fun with them. I left them shutdown and with the passwords with someone who can be trusted. Oh yeah, I fixed the printer and computer problems and did a little bit here and there and told them about the possibility of me working for another company. My boss told me to go for it but to help them out. I told him I could come in on the weekends but wanted my old job back once the hours become full-time again. He said no problem. I also informed my possible new employers of this and that I would continue to be working for Gollotts. I hope that doesn't hurt but I feel since they extended the possibility, it would only be fair.

I went by the plant and old offices again and was able to get more pictures. While there, I saw Jorge!! He is such a sweet fellow and I told him about some clean-up work and meet his wife. When I got there, he was standing in the midst of the rubble and had such a forlorn look on his face. Most of us still do. You wake up one morning and your whole world has changed. But that look is being replaced by one of optimism as the recovery and rebuilding is picking up pace.

Last week, when I drove by the home of the Gollott's uncle, his house did not appear to be damaged. Very wrong. When I drove by today, he had most of his belongings beside the road. Apparently, his house had 7 feet of water in it during the storm. He has already cleaned out the house and has to redo all the electrical but he said the old thing is standing and they would be moving into it again. He house is a half-mile from Biloxi Back Bay. During Hurricane Camille, the water was only 6 feet in my demolished office, which used to sit 100 yards from the bay. There are now reports that state the storm surge was actually between 30-40 feet. I think that is accurate based on the damage and how far the surge went inland.

He used to get me to type up different things and call different people, which I did. I gave him my home phone number and told him to call me if he needed anything typed up or looked up on the internet. I seemed to have perked him up a bit.

I also visited with the contractors and demanded to know where our offices were. He thought I was serious!! I told him I was just joking, sort of.

A Celebrity That is Really Helping - Brett Favre

I am not a big fan of football but I may have to become a cheesehead after reading about what Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers are doing for Mississippi. As many of you know, Brett Favre grew up the Kiln, a small town about 30 miles from where I live. He has not forgotten the people he grew up with. His Fourward Foundation is a charitable organization that has long helped various groups. Today, the efforts of this foundation are directed to providing relief to hard hit Hancock County, the county in which Mr. Favre grew up. This is the county that had towns such as Lakeshore and Waveland disappear. The town of Pass Christian has been 70% demolished.

Family friend and business associate Clark Henegan, who moved to South Mississippi because of the Favres nearly two decades ago, helped drive a Reynolds semi-truck Tuesday morning from Madison, Wisc., with supplies for those in Hancock County.

With the help of Jeff Grebel of Reynolds, Henegan drove the 18-wheeler filled with chainsaws, generators, diapers, baby formula, work gloves, work boots, canned food and dog food, were donated through Favre's Web site, www.brettfavre.com and the Brett Favre Fourward Foundation.

Grebel also said he will donate his next paycheck to the relief efforts.

"Brett is devastated by what happened," Henegan said. "Each night after practice he sits in front of his computer and looks at the damage through a Web site. He also looks to see what donations have come in. Brett really cares about this area."

Henegan said Tuesday's truck was in an addition to Favre and the Packers sending five airplane loads of supplies to Hattiesburg for distribution in Hancock County.

Beth Seymour, who works for the Brett Favre Fourward Foundation in Hattiesburg, said 30 semi trucks of supplies and $198,000 in cash have been sent.

The Packers also said Monday that they will donate $100,000 to the American Red Cross' Hurricane Relief Fund as a kickoff to fundraising efforts at the team's home-opener Sunday against Cleveland. The Packers' drive is part of the NFL's Hurricane Relief Weekend.Sun Herald

So color me a cheesehead. Just don't tell my sister Denise who is a die-hard Saints fan. She doesn't have internet access yet, so I think I will be safe from her wrath for awhile.

Thank you Brett Favre, the people of Wisconsin, and the Greenbay Packers!! You guys really do know how to help and are doing it without cameras following you around.


Mississippi Has Been Invaded

Everywhere you go, they are there. Directing traffic, handing out supplies, bulldozing debris out of the way, helping restore water and sewage utilities, rebuilding schools, and doing everything possible to help us on the Mississippi Gulf Coast recover and rebuild. The are the men and women who serve in the Navy, Army, the National Guard, the Air National Guard, the Mexican Army, and the Dutch Navy.

I didn't realize how many were in Gulfport until I took Jeremy and I to get tetanus shots. As I passed the Gulfport-Biloxi Airport and the airfields of the Air National Guard, there are rows and rows of tents that house these wonderful men and women.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Thank you so much for your help!!

Mark at Knocking On The Golden Door and who is my official proofreader has noted that I have left off one branch: The Coast Guard. How could I have forgotten that wonderful and courageous group who along with the Navy ran rescue operations almost none stop the first ten days after Hurricane Katrina. Those helicopters used to pass over my house 40 times a day.

Good News

The Marine Life Oceanarium had long been a fixture in Gulfport MS. Thousands of people, me included have long enjoyed the antics of the dolphins and the sea lions. Sadly, it has been demolished and 8 dolphins which were put in a 30 foot high tank were thought to be lost. The tank was submerged by the tidal surge that swept along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and up through Biloxi Back Bay, the Biloxi River, and the Tchoutacaboufa River. The dolphins were thought to have swam out into the Gulf of Mexico when the tank was submerged.

The dolphins have been spotted at the entrance to the Port of Gulfport harbor and plans are under way to round them up and send them to facilities in Florida. Teams are feeding the dolphins and giving them medication. Sadly, there has been no word of the missing sea lions. Most of the dolphins and sea lions were evacuated to inland pools and those are safe and have been transported to out of state facilities. The tanks in which the eight dolphins and the sea lions were held at Marine Life were undamaged but the tidal surge made it possible for them to swim away. For further information go to Dolphins R Us.

Thanks to Mark for pointing this out:
Most of the tenacious sea lions that lost shelter during the storm have since been rescued. Public response has been instrumental in finding the lost sea lions who have been discovered on back porches, under houses, amid debris piles, and keeping cool in neighboring bays and swimming pools. Katrina claimed the lives of five, and two are still missing.

Somehow Not Surprised

When the settlers left, the greenhouses of Neve Dekalim were standing and ready for use. Jewish donors helped purchase 3,000 of them for use by the Palestinians after the Israel disengagment. They were a major source of income for the settlers and could have been for the Palestinians also. One slight problem though. After destroying the synagogues in Gaza, the looters then went on to the greenhouses. The looters carried off pumps, irrigation hoses, and other items necessary to allow the greenhouses to be able to flourish. 30% of the greenhouses were looted. If my math is correct that means that 1,000 of the greenhouses were affected. These greenhouses were built through the ingenuity of the Israeli settlers and were purchased for the Palestinians at a cost of $14 million dollars.

Palestinian police stood by helplessly Tuesday as looters carted off materials from greenhouses in several settlements, and commanders complained they did not have enough manpower to protect the prized assets. In some instances, there was no security and in others, police even joined the looters, witnesses said.Yahoo News

The question is often asked, are the Palestinian ready for self-government? A culture of death and hate runs through the Palestinians and is often fueled by Islamic clerics, groups such as Hamas, and even the PA's Fatah movement. A culture that seems to be idolatry in it's love of death and hate cannot hope to grow and improve the lives of those living in that culture. The only things allowed in such a culture are death and destruction. If the Palestinians would concentrate on building up instead of tearing down, they could improve their lives instead of playing blame games.

My Horoscope

I usually read my horoscope every day and while I don't believe in them, they can be interesting. I found today's extremely amusing because before Hurricane Katrina hit, I was dreaming of taking a vacation. All I can say is be careful of what you wish for!!
A long-awaited vacation may be coming up soon for you, dear Scorpio. The study of travel books might be on your agenda for today. You might spend much of your day making the necessary arrangements - making phone calls, completing paperwork, and running errands. The care of pets or plants, while you're away, might need to be set up. Excitement runs high, and so does enthusiasm. You have a lot to look forward to, so go out and celebrate! Have fun!

Hey, maybe this means my bosses at Gollott's are going to send me to Washington, DC so I can take part in the Protest Warrior's Defend the White House on September 24!!



The Gulf Park campus of the University of Southern Mississippi in Long Beach took a beating as did most of the city. At the campus there is a 600 year old oak tree called the Friendship Oak. It used to have a gazebo built around it. The gazebo is gone but the oak survived. It is a famous landmark along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Political cartoonist Marshall Ramsey at the Clarion Ledger has given the oak a new look.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

I think it expresses the sentiments of me and the majority of Mississippians as to the heartfelt thanks we feel to all the wonderful help coming in to our beleaguered but unbeaten state.

Things to Remember

As I set forth on this journey of finding a new job, there are certain things I need to remind myself when I am hired:

1) Your new boss might not appreciate being called a stupid bastard to his face. Your old boss may have laughed it off because you have been working there 14 years and thinks it's funny

2) Your new boss might not appreciate you taking off 1-2 hours early on Friday because you don't feel like working

3) You must be very careful about internet access and blogging. While your old boss might be very considerate and let you finish posting to your blog, your new boss might not appreciate it

4) Your new boss might not accept the excuse you were late due to the fact you stayed up most of the night reading a book and overslept. Your old boss accepted it as just being who you are

Oh Lord, I am doomed!! I have become so complacent about what is and isn't acceptable at a place of work because of the very good nature of my old bosses, that my work ethic may have suffered slightly. In other words, I am now a very high maintenance employee!!!

Hey, my skills will save me though.

Whose to Blame for Hurricane Katrina?

Yes, I have stooped to the level of our news media and am about to assign blame for Hurricane Katrina.

I found out whose to blame for Hurricane Katrina last Wednesday as the wonderful utility man from South Carolina was restoring power to the transformer across the street.

It is not President Bush or Karl Rove. Hold your breaths now, the blame for Hurricane Katrina resides with my neighbor who has the hearse parked in her front yard.

While we were talking together, practically all the neighbors on the street, she confided that trouble seems to follow her around. I mean big, major trouble. Here's a brief list of the mayhem she has caused:

Last year she had moved to Pensacola Florida, two weeks later Hurricane Ivan struck.

She moved to Tennessee, a month later, they had a big ice storm.

She moved down here two months ago, you know what happened, Hurricane Katrina.

So Jerry told her she needed to pack up her hearse and go somewhere else. She was a good sport about and laughed along with the rest of us.

So, let the media know that the blame for Hurricane Katrina does not reside with President Bush or Karl Rove, but with a little ol housewife and her hearse.



The wildlife and fauna around my house took a beating under Hurricane Katrina. I found the bodies of the squirrel family that used to live in my oak while raking up debris in my yard. I had to get my son to finish that section. I will miss the little things, especially the one that would fuss at me when I would go and grill underneath the oak tree. The cardinals who nested in the oak tree in the back yard are ok. I can hear them but have yet to see them. My neighbor has some renters. They have a cat which they abandoned. My neighbor is in no position to take care of this cat. So I find myself having to chase this cat off when he fights with my two male cats and when they are in the house, go out and feed him. The plants in my yard suffered a lot but are coming back, The crepe myrtle bushes are even beginning to bloom again.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Firebush/butterfly taken at the end of July

Image hosted by Photobucket.comFirebush today. Butterflies are still coming around.

Even though my house suffered only very minor damage, I have some hard choices coming up. You see, since it had light damage, I don't qualify for FEMA aid. The only thing I qualify for is Major Disaster Unemployment and let me tell you it does not begin to cover things like house notes.

These are my options. The first is to find a job or two as soon as possible, which is going to be very interesting because as of this moment there are approximately 15,000 others on the Mississippi Coast that are without jobs.

The second is to take in a boarder, which I don't really want to do. I love my home and unless it is a close friend or relative, I can't see myself going that route.

The third option is to find a job somewhere in the Southeast for a year and rent my house during that time.

The fourth option is to sell my house and move out of the state. This is something that would break my heart. I love it down here and really cannot imagine living any where else. A cousin in Denver suggested I come up there. But you know he said it was 55 degrees this past weekend and that is just too cold for this warm-blooded person. Actually anything below 60 degrees would be too cold.

I know things will work out somehow. They always do. I am just a little discouraged right now.

UPDATE: Sorry about the above post. The numbness of the past two weeks is beginning to wear off and at times I can't see things very clearly. I have to go into work tomorrow and plus check into a couple of jobs. So wish me luck on the job front especially the secretary one! I have worked out a couple of other things I can do regarding my house such as refinancing to get the note lower. I am sure I can get it done. So things are not as bleak as they seemed 3 hours ago. These emotions of anger, despair, and hopefulness come and go. So bear with me.

UPDATE: 9/13/05 To the commentors who left the suggestion about the tip jar on my site, you have lifted my spirits a great deal. Your generosity overwhelms me but it is premature to do so. I do have some money put aside for my son's college and have enough for the house note for about 4 months. I make a promise to you, if in that time I have not been able to find a job, I will put up a tip jar. Plus my dear son is probably going to be able to go to work at his Dad's company. He offered to help out with the full amount of any paychecks he would receive. It made me cry when he said that. I told him I would need some help but not all of what he makes, probably not even half. He has really begun to mature since the storm hit and does not give me hardly any grief when things need to be done around the house. He made the decision to wait a year before going to college when he graduated in May.

Things overwhelm me at times and yesterday evening, it all seemed bleaker than usual.

Historic Sites/Museums That Are Safe and Those Are Gone

Though the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum suffered flooding, all the wonderful creations by George Ohr and local artists are safe and will be sent to Mobile until the museum can clean out.

The Walter Anderson Museum in Ocean Springs miraculously escaped any water as did Shearwater Pottery and all of Anderson's murals are undamaged as are his wonderfully unique paintings.

The following is a list of museums and historic sites that are gone or heavily damaged:

Beauvior in Biloxi- The last home of Jefferson Davis is heavily damaged but most of the artifacts can either be restored or were not damaged

The Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi was obliterated

J L Scott Marine Education Center in Biloxi was obliterated

The Dantzler House in Biloxi was obliterated

Moran's Art Studio is gone

Sarah Gillespie Gallery at William Carey College in Gulfport is standing but all the artwork is gone

Grass Lawn, an historic Antebellum house in Gulfport is gone

The Lynn Meadows Discovery Center in Gulfport was undamaged

The Dusti Bongi Foundation in Biloxi escaped and all photos etc are safe

The Mardi Gras Museum in the Magnolia Hotel in Biloxi first floor was flooded but unfortunately all the exhibits had been moved to the Dantzler House and are gone

The Saenger Theater in Biloxi had water damage but can be restored

In Ocean Springs, the Ocean Springs Art House and the Mary O'Keefe Cultural Center appear to be ok

For more details, read the Sun Herald.

The Land the Media Forgot

Most of the media appears to be focusing on a blame game. Let's see, how many ways can President Bush be blamed for Hurricane Katrina? There are people in Mississippi and Louisiana who have nothing to show for years of hard work except the clothes on their backs. It pisses me off that most in the media are choosing to focus on a political game instead of telling the stories of the people who have been affected. Why am I being such a bitch this morning?

Because towns in Louisiana such as Chalmette and Metarie are under water also but you don't hear about them. You don't hear about the small towns of Venice, Delcambre, and Dulac either. People in Alabama have had their homes destroyed but you don't hear too much about that. Bayou La Batre's shrimping industry is virtually gone, but you don't hear about that. Small towns in Mississippi such as Waveland, Lakeshore, St Martin are gone. Small towns in Mississippi such as D'Iberville, Poplarville, and Pearlington have been half demolished.

I know people who live in each of these small little towns with exception of Pearlington. I know they are safe and they will have to begin the rebuilding process and that it is going to be a long hard process.

Hurricane Katrina is not some f@@@ing political game. This disaster involves real people who are hurting and are being forgotten by the media. The goodness of the American people is showing through with the unprecedented donations to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. I want the political bullshit to stop. President Bush is not to blame for Hurricane Katrina. Mississippi, even though hit harder by Hurricane Katrina is recovering faster than Louisiana will ever hope to. Why? Because our elected officials asked for federal government help when needed and in a timely manner. If the dickheads in Louisiana could not get their acts together long enough to do so, that is their problem. But please remember it is real people who are being affected and stop playing the STUPID BLAME GAME and get to work to help those who need it. I am asking the media this.


9-11 - New Memories

Four years ago, our nation suffered attacks wrought by Islamic jihadis and nearly 3,000 people died in those attacks. I will never forget the images of the WTC towers burning and collapsing, the Pentagon burning, and the heroic efforts of those on Flight 93. Nor will I ever forget the response that President Bush gave that comforted our nation.

However, due to Hurricane Katrina, I will now have new memories to mark this tragic day in American history. At the beginning of the week, Mississippi Power vowed that it would restore power to 100% of it's customers that can receive power and by God they are going to make it!

Power has even been restored to my brother's house which is located south of the railroad tracks in Gulfport. An area that was decimated by Hurricane Katrina. The storm surge stopped at his door step. He has damage to his floor boards from the wave action under the house. But his house now has power.

Mississippi Power restoration update – Day 12

Saturday, September 10, 2005
Contact: Kurt Brautigam or Mike Tyndall, 404.506.5333 or 866.506.5333

GULFPORT, MS -- Mississippi Power employees and outside workers have restored service to 98 percent of the company’s customers who can receive power. Southern Company

What is so remarkable about this achievement is that the power plant itself was flooded, the distribution lines were mowed down by the winds of Hurricane Katrina, and over 30,000 power poles had to be replaced. After the storm, it was estimated that it would be 1 to 2 months before power could be restored. With the efforts of utility men and women from Canada, Georgia, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and many others, they were able to perform a miracle and have power restored in less than 2 weeks!!

As I said, I will never forget the attacks on the WTC, the Pentagon, and the heroic men and women of Flight 93. Those images will be a part of me forever but now I also have the positive memories of a miracle performed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.