Monday, April 18, 2016

Playing on the Beach and Katrina Trees

Because you can't go to the coast without going to the beach, even if it is nearly winter, we took the kids to play anytime it wasn't raining in Mississippi. 


Standing out on the sand bar.

One of Oscar's favorite things to do when we go to the beach is to build drip sandcastles out on the sandbars and watch them slowly wash away. 

Teaching the boys how to make a castle with wet sand.

Zander found some fish and decided to chase the other kids around,

Sarah and Zander found a Horseshoe Crab,

 Tanner found a Jellyfish,

And Brendan walked around the whole time texting Felicia.

Katrina Tree's
After hurricane Katrina there were all these dead trees left just standing around. Everywhere you turned there were more dead trees. During the cleanup any trees that were determined to be unstable or unsafe were taken down but any stable trees, dead or alive were left standing. They couldn't waste the time or the man power on anything that wasn't an emergency. Afterward there were all these dead trees left standing all over Mississippi, especially along the coast. So the mayor asked a local chainsaw artist if he might be able to do something with the trees. We often see him out on the weekends carving up trees or making sculptures out of driftwood he's drug up from the beach. Whenever Oscar and the kids go to the beach I usually go wandering around looking for tree sculptures that I haven't seen before or maybe find some that I had forgotten about. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Katrina Memorial and the New High Water Mark



Louisiana has the worst bridges I have ever had to cross! Because it is so close to the ocean and because the Mississippi River is a main thoroughfare for barges and ships coming in off the ocean, up the Mississippi River, through Louisiana the bridges there have to be these massive metal structures that must stretch far and wide and be strong enough to withstand hurricanes as well as tall enough, about 175 feet, for large freighters and barges to safely pass under. The problem is that they are all completely outdated, they have no shoulder or passing lanes, the lanes are usually less than 8 feet rather than the standard 11 feet and some of them even have trains tracks running down the middle of the bridge. If you've never been on a bridge going 70 miles an hour, more than 150 feet up in the air, with it shaking already from all the traffic and then to have a train come shooting through there, you'd think the whole bridge was coming down around you, I tell you what! On the way to Mississippi I had to cross two of these horrible bridges, the I-10 and the US-90(with the train) and by the time I got to the end of the second bridge I was crying.

 Did I mention when you're approaching these bridges they just come out of nowhere, a ramp of concrete straight up into the sky?

I-10 Bridge

You just come around the curve and there it is. You don't even have time to slow down.

US-90 Bridge

To help conquer my fear of bridges I decided to challenge myself to hike across the Biloxi Bay bridge. During hurricane Katrina the Biloxi Bay bridge was completely destroyed, along with most of Gulf Port and Mississippi. Although the eye of the storm did not pass directly over Biloxi and Gulfport the flooding and storm surges were just as damaging as if they had taken a direct hit, in some place over 34 feet high. Unfortunately, with the exception of volunteers, there was no aide sent to Mississippi as far as clean up and rebuilding goes, they were left to deal with it on their own. That's when the Seabee's stepped up and repaved the roads of the Mississippi,starting with the Biloxi Bay bridge, so that the clean up could begin. When they rebuilt the bridge they added a pedestrian walking lane for those crazy enough to cross on foot. I decided I would be just crazy enough to give it a try! Oscar and I walked the entire length and back.

After the Hurricane

After Rebuild
Hurricane Katrina Bell
The only thing left standing of the church about 6 blocks from the bay where we had to park to go hike the bridge. because the fastest things rebuilt on the coast after the destruction were the casinos that take up most of the coastline in that area and only have private parking.


Remembrance Locks

The remnants of the old train bridge.

Every two miles there are observation decks that jut out over the water a good 10 feet or so and Oscar made me go out on everyone and look over the side. It wasn't so bad in the beginning but by the time we got to the top I wanted to kill him!

The view from the top! We walked the entire length of the bridge and back, over five miles total, only stopping once at the far end for a bathroom break and to buy more water.