Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Katrina vs Biloxi

Shrimp boats behind the Hard Rock

We arrived in Biloxi, MS on Sunday, hoping to see most of the city and surrounding area back in commission. It became clear to us that the cleanup efforts from Hurricane Katrina are nowhere near complete. There are entire city blocks along the ocean front that are empty. Concrete parking lots with weeds. Some of the casino owners elected not to rebuild. A friend's daughter once worked at the Casino Magic here - but that casino is no more. It was obvious where the reconstruction went; big money gets big results. The Hard Rock Casino/Cafe was recently reopened (I'll have an another post for that), as did several other casinos.

We saw churches with the lower level stained glass blown out. Apartments and condos abandoned with their lower floors gone. Gas station signs, restaurant signs were evident, with no buildings to go with them. Amazingly, there were signs posted on beachfront parking lots indicating that luxury condos would be built. Uh, huh, try getting homeowners insurance on those!

Remains of a restaurant

We had planned on visiting the Jefferson Davis museum and library in Biloxi, to get a bit of Civil War history. Unfortunately, that historical place was mostly destroyed. They are planning to reopen sometime in 2008.

Out of the destruction we did see a rebirth of sorts. Dead oak trees are being removed down the center strip of the highway, but some of the stumps are being sculpted into works of art depicting coastal life.

Oak seahorse

Oak dolphins

Our campground was about 4 miles inland, and, while it had great reviews, we found it to be about 90% occupied by long term tenants. Two nights was enough for us, and we headed for Alabama.

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