Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina--Pictures, Thoughts and Rants on a Deadly Killer!

These are pictures I've taken out and about in Ocean Springs, MS. No pictures are "borrowed" from the web. I have sent some pics in to the local newspaper via e-mail for publication, but all of these photos were TAKEN BY ME PERSONALLY, unless otherwise noted. I've lived in OS all of my life, and these are the first scenes I captured when I returned from Tallahassee, FL after Fleeing Hurricane Katrina. Come back often, as I have over 70 photos, that need to be uploaded!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

New Pictures taken from the Imperial Palace Casino on Back Bay Biloxi

My sister just sent me these photos in an e-mail. She said that a classmate of hers sent them to her. I haven't seen these photos yet, so I thought I'd add them to my blog. Please understand that I DID NOT TAKE THESE PHOTOS!!! Remember that you can DOUBLE CLICK on any photo to enlarge it for a closer look!!! Enjoy!!!

Fishing Pier (The Old Biloxi Bridge) – the water is usually about 20 feet below the pier.

These are homes across the street from the Imperial Palace…

More from across the street.

This was taken as the storm changed direction and the water tidal surge was starting to move out.

These are several hundred year old trees (Live Oaks), and the tops of a few Palm Trees that “adorn” the entrance to the Imperial Palace.

Just another one…Tidal Surge

Friday, February 03, 2006

A Couple New Pics

My husband sent me these first two pictures. The others are pictures that I took on September 17th, but I thought they were worthy of repeating!

This is HWY 603 in Bay St. Louis, MS and as you can tell, it has what I would guess to be around 5 feet or more of water across the roadway. Look at the lightpoles and see how high up the poles the water is!

This photo is said to be taken from St. Stanislus High School. The boys from the International Dorm did not evacuate...and had at some point (it's said shortly after this photo was taken) to move to higher ground. The International Dorm faces the Beachfront. You can see the waves rolling in over the Beachfront drive...but more incrdibly...look further out into the Gulf at the height of the waves coming in behind! It's sort of hazy, but you can see a VERY high wall of water! I've heard that the Brothers and the boys moved up to the 2nd floor of the Dorm and waited it out there! Can you imagine the horror! There was a few angels watching over them I think!!

I took this picture on 9/17. It's a picture of the International Students Dorm that faces the Beachfront. Just to give you a perspective of where it's reported the above picture was taken from!

I also took this picture on 9/17. It's a picture that I call "Walk to Nowhere". The Walkway went from the St. Stanislaus Campus to the beach. But as you can see, Katrina took care in making sure that no one would be making that walk for a long while!

Another photo I took on 9/17. This is the Church that is next door to St. Stanislaus...Our Lady of the Gulf (OLG). It sits on the Beachfront. It's a beautiful Historic old Church. Though you can't tell in this photo, the entire roof is gone!

This is the rectory (the priest's house) for the church above! Not much left, eh? Sad, just really really sad! Photo taken by me on 9/17.

Sunday, January 01, 2006


Well FINALLY 2006 has come. Today is day 126. Some progress is being made. It's slow but it is steady. I'm just damn glad 2005 is behind us, and I NEVER want to see another year like that.

This past Wednesday, I visted the Isle of Capri Casino. I went to check it out. The date was the 28th and it opened on the 26th. I'm happy to report that I had to wait in line forever to valet park my car. I would have self-parked, but that's a bitch of a hill to climb, and my back just won't let me do it. Anyway, I digress....the casino part is in the Hotel now...just as we knew it would the old ballroom(s).

It's much larger than I expected it to be! I expected just a few slot machines and one or two table games. Oh noooo, not the case. The slots are all new (duh!) and are fun and exciting games. OF COURSE, I just donated my measley $30 bucks to the economy, but hey...what the heck right! It's a pretty place, and I hope to be taking my mom soon. I want to go and visit the New Palace, as it was set to open this past Friday. The Imperial Palace has been open for a few weeks, but my husband works near there, and says that parking is a premium. People are parking on the sides of the road and under the I-110 loop...Not for me. I guess FEMA is still in town and the parking garage is still full! My sister tells me that you can get a spot at 5am near the elevators though! :-)

I'm just glad to see Highway 90 back open. It's good to ride down the beach again...even in the state that it's in. What I DON'T look forward to in 2006 is what I know to be inevitible, and that's a complete REHAB of Highway 90. But I'm full aware that they only did a patch job so that they could get it back open to traffic. The Popps Ferry Bridge is now open here again...a piece of progress!
Now will someone please tell the Mayor of OS to quit raising a ruckus about six laneing the new Biloxi/OS Bridge so we can get that project going!! :x

Seeing as how Black Eyed Peas are supposed to bring good luck...and I ate mine last year, I will be removing them from the menu this year! Who needs that kind of luck in 2006?? Down with Black Eyed Peas! I wish you all a Happy, Healty, Prosperous, Hurricane free 2006.

Ramblings of Guilt

Ramblings of Guilt

As I look around, the sights are horrendous.
Lives are strewn to the curb in pandemonium.
Generations of belongings lain out like a yard sale gone very, very wrong!

One can glean everything about the inhabitants of this so-called dwelling,
if one is so bold as to look.
Their reading habits, their hobbies, their love of movies and music
are not a secret to anyone who wishes to peruse the piles
growing ever higher beside their tract of land.

One’s senses kick in to high gear.…
It’s the stench of rot, mud, slime, and mold.
The sight of wood swollen and warped by water to generations of furniture
that in your gut, you just know have been passed down.
It’s the taste of a meal that some kind person has handed to you,
and the feel of sheetrock and insulation laden with odious water.
It’s also the sound of the chainsaws during the day, and the generators that lull you to sleep at night.

These are the abominations and the legacy of Katrina.

Guilt over washes me, for I have lost little.
My home is fairly intact.
For what I have lost, compared to others, my family and I have suffered little.
I have a home, I have comforts….
And most thankfully, I have all my family members!

But I have lost peace of mind.

I’ve lain in bed, crying for the mere fact I have a bed to lie in.
I’ve cried when I’ve fed my pet, thankful that she’s still with me.
I’ve agonized over the haves and have nots.
I’ve hated the devastation I’ve seen.

I’ve detested the rivers of tears, and swollen, puffy eyes of the brave,
not wanting to burden others with their woes.
There is repugnance at what is left of this once beautiful area.
Will I ever get over it? Will I ever “deal”?
Though I haven’t suffered as much in an object-oriented way,
Perhaps, I too have suffered at the hands of Katrina?

© ~!~ Becky ~!~ 9/30/05

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Restaurants of Days Gone By!!!

Since folks on the Discussion Board at the Sun Herald forums are talking about favorite restaurants, I thought I would post some pictures of some restaurants along Highway 90. Some of these names have come up in the discussion board, and some are just ones I thought I'd toss in to spark some memories.

Remember if you want to examine a photo more closely you can click on the photo to see it enlarged!!

Ahhhhhhhhhhh....where our "mystery" fitting to have it as the first photo. There were also some great restaurants at the Beau...but to me one of the best was their gracious it had EVERYTHING!!!

This was Landry's...a once great place to enjoy seafood!

CAN YOU BELIEVE that this is what The Roadhouse Grill was reduced to? It was across the street from the Emerald Beach Hotel that is in the photos on the blog below. the sign WAS The Olive Garden. A favorite place to run to for lunch, as it's just down the road from my job. This shot is the side facing DeBuys Road (pronounced da bees) NOT the side on Highway 90. Nevertheless, anything that close to the Beach didn't have a chance.

This area is where McElroy's Harbor House Restaurant was. This is the Biloxi Harbor area. This building is the only thing left, and the bottom of it is gutted. Someone mentioned the "boat to Ship Island" in one post...The Pan-American Clipper was the boat that took tourists to the island, would depart from this harbor. One day recently, I was driving around the Ocean Springs Harbor near my home, and to my surprise the Pan-Am Clipper was moored there! :-)

Ahhh....Remembering Our Youthful Days!

Hello to my friends and fellow posters from the Sun Herald forums. I decided to post these pictures for you since it was brought up in one of the posts about the old Amusement Park, and what I refer to as the "Goofy Golf".
I have taken over 80 pictures down Highway 90 between the foot of the Biloxi/Ocean Springs Bridge and DeBuys Road (which is where the Olive Garden and Red Lobster were)! Make sure (that is of course if you want to), to read my story just below regarding my trip down Highway 90. Also of note, is my trip on 9/17 to Bay St. Louis and includes a "Minute by Minute" can do this by looking in the column to the left and clicking on the blog entries there that interest you!


This is what WAS the Emerald Beach hotel...It was just west of the "Hooters" and "Cucos" Restaurant and across the street from the LaLinda Hotel on the Corner of Veterans Blvd and Hwy 90.

Moving Eastward now...these were the businesses next to the Emerald Beach Hotel...The remenants of the "Cucos", the "Hooters" and you can see whats left of the Shell gas station at the corner of Veterans Blvd and 90. Across the street from that Shell would be that Souvenier Shop where you could buy Beach accessories....These photos are all on the South side of the Highway!

Remnants of the Shell Station at the Corner of Highway 90 and Veterans Blvd.

In this picture...still moving can see the outline of the "Wendy's" sign. Next to the Shell station, there was a KFC, and a Taco Bell, then a Wendys...But as you can tell...NOTHING is there!!

How do I say....Same song, different verse! Soooo SAD!!! it is..., this is what I was leading up to. This is WHAT IS LEFT of the old Amusement Park and "Goofy Golf"....So many childhood dreams shattered like the twisted pieces of metal you see in the picture. Even the Dinosaur that was one of the holes at the goofy golf didn't make it....It withstood Camille's terrible winds, but was no match for Katrina.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

FINALLY: A Ride Down Biloxi’s Hwy 90

FINALLY: A Ride Down Biloxi’s Hwy 90

I have finally gotten a chance to do what I’ve wanted to do since the day after arriving home from Tallahassee, FL on Sept. 1st. I got to ride down Hwy 90. I was able to “sneak” onto Hwy 90 at Beauvoir Rd near the Biloxi Coliseum and drive all the way to the foot of what’s left of the Biloxi/Ocean Springs Bridge. I then turned back, made my way to Oak Street near the Grand Casino Bayview Hotel, up to Howard Avenue, to Irish Hill Drive, and back over to Pass Road. I repeated the trip on Friday, October 8th with camera in tow. This time, I had an “official” escort, and was a passenger so I was able to take photos. Our route was I-110 to Hwy. 90 West to Debuys Road, then back East to the Bridge and did a “U-ey” to I-110 for the return to Ocean Springs. I have to say this: the perspective is so much different than anything that an aerial photo or even just a photo can do. To see it for oneself is almost overwhelming.

I had this overwhelming need to see for myself what this monster “Katrina” had done. The area as I knew it growing up, and on my leisurely drive in to work every day is no longer there. To look at it is gut-wrenching. The Harbor in Biloxi where my Dad sold his seafood, gone….across the street…the hospital where I was born…gone. Next door to that…a very small hotel, where my sisters ALWAYS book a room for two nights to enjoy Mardi-Gras without the pain of having to worry about traffic….gone. The Biloxi Town Green where we always stood to watch the beloved floats carrying friends and their friends and children on colorful Mardi-Gras floats….gone!!! And that’s only one short block….it goes on and on like that for block after block after block up the entire Beach Drive.

Did I have any clue that when I left work on Friday, August 26th that would be my last drive home as I had known it? NO!! At the time I left work, Katrina was only a Tropical Storm, and was forecast to hit Florida. After all, what hurricane that has threatened, hasn’t hit Florida in the last three years?? Would I have EVER imagined that the devastation that befell the Coast could be this bad? …NO WAY….not EVEN after hearing the stories did I get it! I had to SEE IT! And SEE IT I did!!! Here are some photos for you. As I said…until you see it, you really don’t get it…but it’s just another take, another perspective, another personal tale of the devastation they have seen.
NOTE: To see any picture up close double click on the picture!

The Biloxi Lighthouse still stands as a beacon of hope!!

This is what’s left of the church at the Seashore Methodist Assembly!

The children’s park at corner of Miramar (street/avenue??) and Hwy. 90 took a terrible hit!

This WAS the Roadhouse Grill on Hwy 90.

The “Other” Pink Souvenir Shop which is a sister shop to Sharkheads. This one was noted for the huge Gorilla that it had out front.

This is what’s left of Landry’s Seafood Restaurant—simply put---NOTHING!

Heading now back East down 90….I had not seen this view of Treasure Bay Casino.

Treasure Bay Casino’s Gift Shop and Restaurant “land” based area of the Casino.

The remains of SharkHeads Souvenir Shop

I’m not sure why, but I especially liked this picture. (Perhaps it’s the blue sky!) An interesting fact: The guitar was built to withstand winds of 200mph….at least that’s word on the street….and as you can see, it fared EXTREMELY well. The Hotel and Casino were scheduled to open one week after Katrina hit.

What’s left of the Biloxi Harbor. As a child, I would accompany my dad to the various restaurants in the area to sell his seafood, and the Harbor was a place always on list to stop. Not far from the harbor, (PRE-Hurricane Camille) was Baricev’s Restaurant….the Beau Rivage parking garage now stands in it’s place. I can remember friends of my dad’s buying Corn Dogs for me…even when it was near supper time, knowing that whatever Mom had cooked, I have to eat again!

St. Michael’s Catholic Church by the Sea As you can tell, you can see clear through the church. From the aerial photos, I thought the church had done fairly well….WRONG!!!

I’m assuming someone put the statue of St. Michael the Archangel in front of the church. But after seeing all of the holy statues around the coast that ended up untouched, I wouldn’t be surprised if this is where the statue found itself after the storm. A great example is the picture I took at St. Claire’s in Waveland of Our Blessed Virgin. Even though the church and school were wiped out, her grotto was nearly untouched. See photos in the blog below. If someone knows the story of this statue, please respond. Thanks.

The Tivoli Hotel. I can only assume the damage on the upper floors is where the Grand Casino Barge hit it before coming to rest in it’s spot on property next door.

What remains of Jerry O’Keefe’s house. He was a former mayor of Biloxi.

This is what I refer to as the “Mardi-Gras” hotel. My sisters would always get a room for two nights during Mardi-Gras at this hotel next to the Santa Maria Retirement Apartments and across the street from the Biloxi Harbor Park. Next door to the East was the Biloxi Specialty Hospital which was the old Biloxi Hospital where I was born. That hospital has recently been demolished. When I passed it the other day, it was nothing more than a pile of bricks waiting to be hauled to the closest dump! Yet another one of my ties to my heritage destroyed by Hurricane Katrina!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Gulf Will Rise Again

Our College President forwarded this to us via an e-mail. I was particarlary touched by this and wanted to share with you!


The Gulf Will Rise Again


Biloxi, Miss.

ON Aug. 17, 1969, Hurricane Camille roared onto the Gulf Coast with winds of more than 200 miles an hour, only the second Category 5 storm to hit the mainland United States. It killed 143 people in Mississippi, and 201 more in flooding in central Virginia.

Over the years, Hurricane Camille's legend grew, and it was not uncommon when I was a child and student in Mississippi to hear horrific tales from coast residents who had survived it. I myself was sleeping in a Boy Scout pup tent 200 miles inland when the storm swept through. Our losses were minimal - the tents, sleeping bags, some food - but over time I managed to spice up the adventure and add a little danger to it.

For almost 40 years, it was a well-established belief that the Gulf Coast had taken nature's mightiest blow, picked itself up, learned some lessons and survived rather well. There could simply never be another storm like Hurricane Camille.

After walking the flattened streets of Biloxi, though, I
suspect that Hurricane Camille will soon be downgraded to an April shower. The devastation from Hurricane Katrina, a storm surge 80 miles wide and close to 30 feet high, is incomprehensible. North from the beach for a half a mile, virtually every house has been reduced to kindling and debris. At least 100,000 people in Jackson County - poor, middle-class, wealthy - are homeless.

I search for a friend's home, a grand old place with a long wide porch where we'd sit and gaze at the ocean, and find nothing but rubble. Mary Mahoney's, the venerable French restaurant and my favorite place to eat on the coast, is standing, but gutted. It's built of stone and survived many storms but had seen nothing like Hurricane Katrina.

Even without Hurricane Rita chewing its way across the region, the notion of starting again is nearly impossible to grasp. Some areas will have no electricity for months. The schools, churches, libraries and offices lucky enough to be standing can't open for weeks. Those not standing will be scooped up in the rubble, then rebuilt. But where, and at what cost?

So much has disappeared - highways, streets, bridges, treatment plants, docks, ports. The next seafood harvest is years away, and the shrimpers have lost their boats. The bustling casino business - 14,000 jobs and $500,000 a day in tax revenues - will be closed for months and may take years to recover. Lawyer friends of mine lost not only their homes and offices, but their records and their courthouses.

At least half of the homes and businesses destroyed were not insured against flood losses. For decades, developers, builders, real estate and insurance agents have been telling people: "Don't worry, Camille didn't touch this area. It'll never flood." This advice was not ill intentioned; it simply reflected what most people believed. Now, those who listened to it and built anyway are facing bankruptcy.

As dark as these days are, though, there is hope. It doesn't come from handouts or legislation, and it certainly doesn't come from speeches promising rosy days ahead. Folks dependent on donated groceries are completely unmoved by campaign-style predictions of a glorious future. It's much too early for such talk.

Hope here comes from the people and their remarkable belief that, if we all stick together, we'll survive. The residents of the Gulf Coast have an enormous pride in their ability to take a punch, even a knockout blow, and stagger gamely back into the center of the ring. Their parents survived Camille, and Betsy and Frederic, and they are determined to get the best of this latest legend.

Those who've lost everything have nothing to give but their courage and sweat, and there is an abundance of both along the coast these days. At a school in the small town of De Lisle, the superintendent, who's living in the parking lot, gives a quick tour of the gymnasium, which is now a makeshift food dispensary where everything is free and volunteers hurriedly unpack supplies. Two nearby schools have vanished, so in three weeks she plans to open doors to any student who can get to her school. Temporary trailers have been ordered and she hopes they're on the way. Ninety-five percent of her teachers are homeless but nonetheless eager to return to the classrooms.

Though she is uncertain where she'll find the money to pay the teachers, rent the trailers and buy gas for the buses, she and her staff are excited about reopening. It's important for her students to touch and feel something normal. She's lost her home, but her primary concern is for the children. "Could you send us some books?" she asks me. Choking back tears, my wife and I say, "Yes, we certainly could."

Normalcy is the key, and the people cling to anything that's familiar - the school, a church, a routine, but especially to one another. Flying low in a Black Hawk over the devastated beach towns, the National Guard general who is our host says, "What this place needs is a good football game." And he's right. It's Friday, and a few lucky schools are gearing up for the big games, all of which have been rescheduled out of town. Signs of normal life are slowly emerging.

The task of rebuilding is monumental and disheartening to the outsider. But to the battle-scarred survivors of the Gulf Coast, today is better than yesterday, and tomorrow something good will happen.

When William Faulkner accepted the Nobel Prize in 1950, he said, in part: "I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion, sacrifice and endurance."

Today, Faulkner would find in his native state a resilient spirit that is amazing to behold. The people here will sacrifice and give and give until one day this storm will be behind them, and they will look back, like their parents and grandparents, and quietly say, "We prevailed."

John Grisham is the author, most recently, of "The Broker."

Saturday, October 01, 2005

I was particularly touched by this photo from 2nd St. in Bay St. Louis. The owners of this home wrote a message to let rescuers and family know that they were "alive and well
with family"!

Cars amid the rubble in Old Town Bay St. Louis one block off of the beach.

This row of homes is near the Bay St.
Louis Bridge on Highway 90...someone told me Pete Fountain owned the
property....but I don't know if that's true or know how
rumors go!!!

The Walkway at St. Stanislaus Catholic School in Bay St. Louis...It USED to connect to the it's a walkway to nowhere!

A little humor at Our Lady of the Gulf Rectory....the sign on the trailer says "Fr. Tracey's Condo"

THE "NEW" NORMALCY...back to work

Well, things are getting somewhat back to normal. We're back in school...and for anyone who doesn't know, I teach college at MS Gulf Coast Community College, Jefferson Davis Campus. We started classes back on Sept. 14th, and at first, I have to say I thought it was a bit premature...that folks were not going to be ready to go back, or even be able to focus on going back to school...We are a commuter campus that sits on the Biloxi/Gulfport line, and I had heard from many of my students that did not have homes left. When you stop and think about it, if you don't have a home to commute from, what's the point of continuing classes....well, that's what my first thoughts were when I heard we were starting back just two short weeks after the Hurricane..

However, that having been said, I'm happy to say that I couldn't have been MORE WRONG!!! My students were ANXIOUS to get back into class and get things going again. They NEEDED some structure in their crazy mixed up world. They expressed gratitude at having something "NORMAL" in their lives. Some "PRE-KATRINA". In one particular class that I teach, I was very humbled when NOT ONE STUDENT had a home, a car, clothes, NOTHING left, yet they came to class in borrowed cars. I was also amazed that none of my students had to have books replaced, even though the college offered the service of book replacement (at no fee to students) for those books lost due to storm damage. Most admitted that they took their books thinking they would study while under evacuation, never dreaming that along with the clothes on their backs, these books would be some of their only possessions left! Many didn't even take treasured photos, again, not imagining the terrible damage that Katrina would leave in her wake. One student, whose home was particularly hard hit in Waveland, lost a vast treasury of Sign Language Video tapes due to Katrina's miserable flood waters, but she has her books!!!

After initial meetings in my classes, and rounds of "how'd you come out?", "how's your home?" and "did you stay or did you leave?", and after a few tears were shed, classes are now back on track....YAY!!! Right now it's what is keeping the students sane, and what is keeping me sane (most days!) !!!!

I am very grateful to have a wonderful institution like MS Gulf Coast Community College in our Community, and better yet, to be part of the MGCCC family. The College has done so much for the employees, many of whom have lost their homes, and for the students as well. On our campus, counselors are available to discuss the stress of Katrina, funds have been set up for victims, (both student and employees) and our campus has even provided a shelter for employees.

Our College mission "We make a positive difference in people's lives everyday" continues to ring true even in the aftermath of such a horrible event!! And for that, I'm truely grateful to the leadership of the College President and the Board of Trustees to have the wherewithall to know that it WAS a smart and logical idea to get back to the business of NORMAL as soon as possible. THANK YOU!!!