Tuesday, March 2, through Friday, March 5, 2010: In Mississippi:
Tuesday morning we headed for Pass Christian, Mississippi, which is on the gulf, near Gulfport and Biloxi. It's a nice little town just emerging from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Across the street from the gulf (which has a beautiful, wide beach) there are fabulous homes.
When we were here six years ago, they were almost recovered from another hurricane (whose name I have forgotten). Virtually all of the buildings appear to be brand new or very recently refurbished. That makes the place very attractive. There are, however, numerous old foundation slabs and driveways (accompanied by For Sale signs) all around the place. They give you a feeling of just how badly damaged this place was. At one site we saw just a chimney still standing. The owner of our RV park told me the water in the park had been a constant eight feet deep, touching the ceiling of his home there. That home has not been repaired yet, by the way. The interior walls have all been stripped down to the studs, which we understand is necessary, and all the windows and doors are gone.
Our RV park is very pretty, situated along a creek.
The 310-mile drive from Beaumont to Pass Christian was uneventful, except for being reminded of just how awful the concrete roads in Louisiana are. The thumping every two seconds makes you wonder how long your suspension will last. The asphalt roads are just fine.
Of course, we had to go to the post office to pick up our mail---which we have forwarded to us every week.
On Thursday we went to New Orleans (70 miles away). We had been there six years ago, so this trip was mostly to see what Katrina had done to it. We stopped at the visitor center and asked the docent where the notorious 9th Ward was located. That started an interesting conversation, highlighted by her telling us: (i) The press accounts of the devastation of the 9th Ward were quite overblown, (ii) the downtown area suffered the most damage, and (iii) the Mississippi coast was more heavily damaged than the entire New Orleans area. From what we had seen in Pass Christian, we couldn't argue with her.
We had a nice lunch at Pere Antoine's on Royal Street in The Quarter (apparently, only tourists call it The French Quarter).
And we walked along the Missisippi River waterfront for a while (with Daisy).
Our waiter told us The Quarter had very little damage from Katrina because it is on a slight rise from the surrounding area. He also told us he believes the people who claim that the levee was deliberately blown up, so as to channel the inevitable floodwater away from The Quarter---which contributes a whole lot to the local economy. Hmmmmm.