South Mississippi after Katrina
- Monday, September 12, 2005
I don't know how closely you have been paying attention to the
aftermath of Hurricane Katrina but the destruction in south
Mississippi is unimaginable. Basically everything within a half mile
of the coastline is just gone, all the way across the state. The
whole town of Pass Christian wiped out, Bay St. Louis mostly gone --
two weeks later we still don't have any idea how many people are
missing. Whole residential blocks in Gulfport and Biloxi are scoured
down to the slabs, with the rubble of disintegrated houses washed
inland across the homes in adjacent blocks. This thing was big.
And the damage extends far inland from the coast. Powerlines were
downed and trees toppled through roofs 200 miles north in Oktibbeha
County. Meridian, Laurel and Hattiesburg all got smacked.
Everything in Mississippi east of I-55 and south of I-20 -- houses,
businesses, chicken farms, timber, phone and powerlines, cropland,
communication towers, county roads -- the whole southern half of the
state has been hit and hit hard. North of I-20 from Forest to
Carthage there are trees across roadways, houses, fences, utility
lines. Whole sections of lightpoles have been reduced to splintered
posts. Some of the people in more remote areas may not have
electricity for weeks if not months.
While my immediate family -- several households -- escaped any
serious damage, all of them have trees down and shingles blown off,
and some may not have electricity for a while. We'll be fine because
we all have each other, and our neighbors, and insurance and fish
cookers and Coleman lanterns and generators and chain saws and
shared "deepfreezes" and oases of comfort when we need them -- but
there are lots and lots of folks down here who don't have all those
things, or a roof over their heads, or food or water or
transportation or money or even anywhere else to go. And these, the
people of south Mississippi, are "my people" too.
The long and short of this is that I'm heading back down there.
Those folks need money and manpower, and not having the former I can
at least contribute to the latter. They need my knowledge and skills
and tools and labor. Everywhere you look down there there is
something that needs doing and it's going to be that way for years.
We have a big mess to clean up. We have to find people places to
live. We're going to have to help each other out.
So it looks like I'll be living in a cabin in south Mississippi
within a week or two. I'm pretty much packed up and ready, but you
sure can accumulate some "stuff" in fourteen years in the same
place. Some of my friends, and the families of friends, and a bunch
of people I don't even know lost all of their stuff. Where I'm going
my internet access is going to be pretty spotty compared to what I'm
used to, and it may be a while before I even have a phone line. For
the time being I'm not going to have time to sit around and chat on
the internet anyway. I'll check back when I can but for now, y'all
take care; I've enjoyed it.
Pray for us all down here, but also please contribute what you can to
the Red Cross or the Salvation Army or any number of other groups
that are down here helping out.
Here are a couple of links.
NOAA satellite images of the Gulf Coast:
The Gulfport-Biloxi Sun-Herald:
Worldwide Church of Latitudinarianism
We were wondering what had become of you.
Thanks for that report. As time and access allows, keep us advised of
the progress from your eyewitness vantage point.