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Life on the Gulf Coast

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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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  1. jujuman13's Avatar
    Hugh_Akston thank you, that was most beautifully expressed.
  2. liblady's Avatar
    hugh, thanks. i too live on the gulf coast, south of tampa, and am in a kind of denial, talking about racing to mexico next summer. i feel impotent and pissed off, but determined to have my voice heard.
  3. missypea's Avatar
    A beautiful telling of a tragic story.

    And now we wait.........
  4. ADK_Forever's Avatar
    Hey Hugh,

    Would you mind, why did you choose to move to La., especially after Katrina, of all times?

  5. RedAkston's Avatar
    I didn't move to Louisiana, I moved to Mobile, AL for 2 years and recently moved to Biloxi, MS. It's beautiful down here. Katrina is the exception to the rule with hurricanes. I don't see another Katrina for at least another 50 years and I will be dead and gone by then.
  6. kaya'08's Avatar
    Biloxi, it seems, is an unlucky beauty. I can't say i hope for the best for you guys because there is no best possible scenario for the swarm of black poison that will reach your shores. All i can say is i hope the disaster will attract tourists who want to help clean up the enviournment and contribute to Biloxi in a way that is far more valuable. Maybe some good will become of this. I hope everything turns out OK for you and i hope you let us know how things pan out.
    Updated 07-12-10 at 11:42 AM by kaya'08
  7. RedAkston's Avatar
    Thanks for the kind words kaya. So far, so good. Just a few tarballs have rolled up to shore. It will most likely take a tropical storm/hurricane to bring the oil ashore in vast amounts. To their credit, BP has done a great job of trying to keep the oil from reaching our shores. Part of it was dumb luck and part of it was BP spending a lot of money to pay for the clean-up and containment. But so far, so good (for now).
  8. Rhapsody1447's Avatar
    How did this end up? Was the oil as bad as you feared when you first wrote this post?
  9. RedAkston's Avatar
    We had a few tarballs come in on shore, but nithing major in any way. Having said that, there is most likely oil all over the floor of the Gulf and it will be years before the ramifications to marine life are fully realized.
  10. LiberalAvenger's Avatar
    I spent time in Biloxi when I was a shrimp boat captain back in the sixties.
    I rember one hurricane that struck Biloxi at the time. The fish hose/canning factory was torn off of it's slab and completely destroyed. Across the street from it a Catholic church with lots of glass was left untouched.

    Some trivia about Biloxi: Jane Mansfield died in a horrible auto accident there in which her head was torn from her bodt. Jane Mansfield's daughter plays Liv on law and order's
    svu. A one time mayor of Biloxi was convicted in a murder conspiricy.

    It is a beautiful place and a fisherman's paradise.


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