Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Tenth year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

 The National Association of Social Workers, Mississippi Chapter, met in Biloxi this past week.  I stopped by what is now known as the IP, but which we dubbed "FEMA Hilton" in 2005 when we were headquartered there during recovery work following Hurricane Katrina.
 It was one of the Gulf coast hotels that that was still usable post-Katrina, so unlike many of our colleagues working recovery, we were not housed in tents and eating out of Mess Tents, but it still had its hardships.  
That first night when I parked in the garage and tried to figure out how to make my way over to the hotel and registration, I was never so frustrated in my life...but then, a couple of days working recovery and I could no longer say that--many frustrating experiences would follow, so I can only imagine the level of angst felt by those who had experienced it and were living with the aftermath, not able to return home.
I sat in the parking lot for a few minutes, looking at the remnants of piers, slips, bridges along this section of the bay.  I wondered about the identity of the person who perhaps had drank a memorial post and left the beer bottle as a silent toast to the survival, and the work still to be done.


Beth said...

I visited Biloxi-Gulfport in June 2009, well after the arrival of Katrina. I was totally unprepared for what I saw after I crossed the bridge from Ocean Springs. I struggled to get my bearings and tried to remember landmarks; a few tears were shed, too. I was amazed, but not surprised, at the resilience of the people who were there and re-building!

Suzassippi said...

You would have enjoyed the closing plenary at the conference, delivered by a "low country" as she calls it, social worker who described those first few days.

Lana Pugh said...
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Lana Pugh said...

With my husband going to school in Pascagoula and my brother and sister in law living in Ocean Springs I've gotten to hear some truly awesome stories about Katrina. The coast will never be the same but I don't think that’s necessarily a bad thing. I'm always humbled by how much the people there love their home. I got to talk with a lady in her 80's at a family function that had stayed in Natchez post Katrina with her brother. She was so matter of fact about things and I think said it best when she told me, "If you're not from there you'll never understand. So many people asked why I would ever want to go back at my age, but it's my home and I just don't sleep anywhere quite as good as at home."