Tuesday, June 3, 2008

On the Road to Recovery ...

This past weekend my husband and I visited the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and although we live in central Mississippi, we had not been to the Coast since that fateful Monday, August 29, 2005, when Katrina wreaked havoc on its beaches, old majestic oaks, historical landmarks, grand beachfront homes, and countless businesses, including its lucrative tourism business.

Of course, we saw the news reports of the devastation left in Katrina's path, but until I saw it with my own eyes, the full extent of the destruction didn't really sink in. How can you comprehend the power of a storm of such magnitude that it ripped up concrete roads and sidewalks and leveled high rise buildings, houses, casinos, literally everything in its path, and carried tons of sand inland.

All weekend, I was trying to comprehend what it must have been like those days and weeks and months after the storm, and I truly cannot imagine the sense of desolation and helplessness the survivors must have felt when they returned to where their homes had once stood.

As I looked at countless empty concrete slabs surrounded by the twisted and broken trunks and branches of 100-year-old oaks still standing, it was also difficult to imagine the overwhelming work, not to mention the danger, involved in the clean up. And for the most part, there was no electricity, phones, or water available for weeks afterward.

Although I think the natural beauty of the Mississippi Gulf Coast was forever changed by Katrina, the clean up and recovery efforts during the past two and a half years are remarkable.

Up and down the coastline, new hotels, high-rise condo and apartment buildings, restaurants, and sumptuous casinos are back in business, with new construction going on everywhere you look.

Thousands of homes are being built ...

And the white sand beaches are clean and beautiful,
and once again filled with people having a good time.

Although a lot of what Katrina destroyed can never be replaced, like the majestic old oaks, no storm, no matter how powerful, can ever take away the spirit and determination of the people who call the Gulf Coast home. And as we drove along the beaches ... from the town of Ocean Springs through Biloxi, Gulfport, Pass Christian, Long Beach, and on to Bay Saint Louis ... three words came to mind which seem to embody the spirit of these amazing folks as they rebuild their lives, their homes, and their businesses. Those three words are Faith, Hope, and Charity, which are, indeed, alive and well on our beautiful Mississippi Coast.

I think this picture says it all ...

I have created a slideshow of photos from our trip which is posted below, and tomorrow I will post a couple of other stories related to "The Road to Recovery." I hope you will come back to visit again soon.


Anonymous said...

Hi again! I am so sorry I just realized I called you by the wrong name! Forgive me I get easily confused this early in the morning! - Jeannette

Unknown said...

We are going to a wedding on the coast the last weekend of June. We've been there two or three times sincc Katrina...and it will never be the same.

Thanks for visiting my blog and for your sweet comment.

I am going to have to get a copy of 'Blogging for Dummies'...I'm new to this, and it is a challenge!

Judy said...

David and I used to visit Gulfport/Biloxi at least once a month at the Beau Rivage. After Katrina we didn't go for about 2 years. We've been back once or twice and it was so sad to see what happened but they are rebuilding, good for them!

Have a wonderful day!


Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Good to see all the recovery in the area! Some areas of New Orleans still have a long way to go, but the French Quarter was still beautiful.

Jon said...

Loved visiting your lovely blog that is so neat, crisp, and so very well done. My trips to the Miss. Gulf Coast have left me saddened by the awful devastation from Katrina. I admire those tenacious folks who have rebuilt and those who are in the process.
Best regards, Jon on 6-3-08 at http://mississippigarden.blogspot.com