Biloxi, Mississippi – December 6, 2006
Biloxi is on the Gulf of Mexico about 100 miles east of New Orleans.
I’ve volunteered online to work this winter in the recovery effort in three different places. No takers yet.
The beach in Biloxi stretches to infinity in both directions. The land slopes up very gently at the waters edge. Katrina generated a 30 foot storm surge which scrubbed away almost all the structures along the beach for several blocks inland.
Life has returned to normal a few blocks inland from the Gulf. The only visible sign of Katrina is that all the roofs appear to have brand new shingles and many houses and businesses appear freshly painted.
The beach is another story. There are a few building steel frames standing with no walls or roofs, but for the most part it’s just mile after mile of building foundations. Many signs offer beach front property at bargain rates. Major bridges were demolished and are still not rebuilt.
The oak trees have taken on a strange appearance. All the leaves and small branches were stripped off. The new growth is very thick and close to the stubby trunks and limbs that were left by the 140 mph winds.
Very little reconstruction has taken place along the beach strip. The exception to that rule are the beach casinos which appear fully restored.
They found another body in a New Orleans attic last week. That brought the official body count to 1,697. The government's sad response to the disaster brought the realization that the first limit of power is competent leadership.