Tuesday, October 31, 2006

KARTRINA || Disbelief || Destruction || Heartbreak

My Post-Katrina Return to Ocean Springs, MS / 11-2005


Driving down the Live Oak arbored Washington Ave. before Katrina. Thankfully, the trees in this part of the old town were mostly intact and spared from being totally stripped

Katrina. Destruction beyond belief. If you haven't been to the coast after Katrina, then you surely cannot begin to comprehend.
Even if you have been there and actually walked among the ruins, it is still beyond belief. The eyes see, but the mind is dumfounded and numbed to a degree just as a protective reflex. You are even in awe of the power of Nature as you snap pictures to record what words alone cannot.

You walk around, you see a lost red teddy bear, a broken plate, an unbroken plate, a glass chandelier entangled in a piece of decorative iron work, a broken mirror reflecting a blue sky and barren Live Oak branches, a pedastal sink in what was once the location of a gracious front porch, a bit of green yarn and crimson French ribbon tangled in a small limb, and sand .. the sand is everywhere and it covers the Saint Augustine grass which is burnt and browned from the salt bath it underwent.
Then you see the among all of the misplaced pieces of countless lives, bright lime green hosta leaves, or tiny yellow flowers growing up through debris fields of strips of wood, or a sunflower in full bloom in front of a destroyed, broken home. These hints of life..s ability to renew itself, even within what appears to be a hopeless environment, causes you to smile.
You head back to the place you are staying and walk inside to the cool clean rooms of an extremely fortunate place named Oak Shade Bed and Breakfast which is about a block from Front Beach, where homes used to be. The neighbor..s home across the street filled with sewage during Katrina..s onslaught. The homes two doors down are lean precariously, either washed through or split into from surging water.
With Oak Shade, you have witnessed a miracle and relieved and happy, but alsofilled with overpowering feelings of grief for so many who have suffered so much and for the entire Gulf Coast of Mississippi which has lost so much of its historical treasures, charms, and character.

The coast has been scraped, raped, and violated to a certain point of no return. You cannot rebuild historical structures. You cannot rebuild the original character and charm. They now reside only in memory and photos. The losses are all-consuming. You break down and cry until you cannot breathe.

To see some photos go to - http://www.mississippijournal.net/blog-Nov2005.html

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