Life on the Gulf Coast
by, 05-31-10 at 07:04 PM (1305 Views)
I moved to the Gulf Coast from Kansas City, MO in May of 2008. The effects of Katrina were still everywhere economically and somewhat physically. Places like Waveland, MS were nearly wiped off the map. While there has been some rebuilding, there are still entire neighborhoods near the coastline where it looks like a nuclear disaster. Lot after lot with dead trees just waiting to fall over and slabs of concrete where houses once stood are overgrown with weeds. Biloxi, where I live, has rebuilt about as much as they are going to until the economy recovers. All along the beach were restaurants, souvenir shops and casinos. Now? The casinos are on the land for the most part, and even the concrete slabs where a Waffle House, a Surf City or a fine dining restaurant once stood are gone as well. For the first year I lived here, I heard "Katrina" or "the storm" at least twice a day. I am now friends with so many who lost so much from Katrina. Some left before the storm hit, others remained and rode it out. Just last month, a dealer had just returned since Katrina hit. He was working in Council Bluffs, IA and decided to return. Biloxi is a beautiful place along the beach and while it isn't quite what it used to be, it is what it is.
And now we wait for the oil and the upcoming hurricane season. We wait for what in all likelihood will be the worst environmental disaster to ever reach US shores, our shores. Magnificent white beaches will turn into oil covered sandboxes. Beautiful houses along the beach will be splattered with oil, tree branches and seaweed. The recently restored lighthouse on the beach will no longer be a brilliant white. The highway and the parking lots will be hazardous to drive on, let alone smell. What is currently a tourist destination for fun, sun, gambling and golf will turn into an environmental nightmare.
We all know what is coming, but we rarely talk about it anymore. We talked for the first couple of weeks after the rig exploded, but now reality is about to set in and no one is looking forward to it. All of our hotels, restaurants and casinos were filled this weekend. But when the oil comes ashore, will anyone come to help? Will anyone come to visit? Will Biloxi, Waveland and other cities like these be ready to clean up again? How much will the oil affect the economy of Biloxi where so much of our money comes from tourism?
I'm not looking forward to what's about to happen. I'm not looking forward to having to worry about my job when the oil comes ashore. I'm not looking forward to the smell and the filth. I'm not looking forward to any of it. But I love this place and I can't see leaving it any time soon. I may be a 'yankee' by birth, but I love the Gulf Coast and it will shine again.
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