Well, I hope everyone had great holidays. We had a great time. We spent several days in Louisiana with my family. The kids had Christmas about three times, but never actually on Christmas day. That was actually kind of difficult. Next year we've decided that we'll do Christmas at home and won't be doing any traveling until after Christmas day.
We then went to Mississippi to spend a couple of days with my father-in-law in Biloxi. This trip was one part visit with family and one part (more important in many ways) a revisit to all the Katrina destruction. When I first went to the Coast a couple of weeks after Katrina, I got to see a lot of the destruction, but there were a lot of areas closed off to non-residents. Highway 90 (Beach Blvd.) was closed, and many of the businesses and places that are special to my family were along that road.
This trip, the road was open and we were able to see all along the beach. While we had seen the aerials from TV and some great shots by the Sun Herald staff, we didn't have that personal look that's required for a sense of closure.
What follows are some shots from the coast. Click on the pictures for full-size images:
The Bombay Bicycle Club was where many of us doing local theater would go after practice to wind down. It was also the first "real bar" to serve an underage me alcohol. It is now demolished.
At right is a casino that was formerly floating at the beach. It was picked up by winds and waves and pushed across the beach up onto land across all four lanes of Hwy 90. It appears to have crashed into a hotel (a Howard Johnson used to be where it is now). It's a massive thing. I believe this was the President Casino.
Lastly, this lot is where I believe my favorite library used to be. It's hard to tell because there was so much damage to the area, but there was no structure around that could have been the library -- so it had to be completely demolished. Sad. All those books ...
Well, it was heartbreaking, but something we really needed to do. Something that struck both the wife and I is that even going through this, even seeing all this destruction, it still felt like home. We still would love to move back there.
The other thing that struck us was the sense of pride and the rebuilding going on there. There were no people whining about what the goverment wasn't doing for them. Here were people picking themselves up, dusting themselves off and rebuilding. There is a long way to go and they still need a lot of help, but here's one place that's not going to whine in your face about what you're not doing for them.