Sunday, December 25, 2005

Katrina Pictures

I grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, in Long Beach. My parents' house is three blocks from the beach. It was a nice day today and they no longer have National Guard troops blocking access to the area south of the tracks, so we ventured away from the homestead for the first time since the storm and took a look around. My parents' church, St. Thomas was still standing, sort of--the beams were there, and part of the roof, but not much else--but there were meeting chairs there, so I wonder if mass has been held there. The parish is temporarily based in the old skating rink in town. These are some pictures from my old neighborhood. Basically the first block from the beach suffered total devastation. The second block had houses off their foundations, walls crushed by water etc., but the houses were still recognizable. The houses on the third block got water in them.


  1. Anonymous9:50 AM

    Thank you for sharing the pictures- and letting me see the Church. Out of site- out of mind....NOw I have some renewed ideas for our end of the year charities.
    What do you think would help that area the most? Janette

  2. I guess it depends on your area of interest. Obviously the parish property will have to be totally rebuilt. St. Thomas is not the only parish in that condition. If you check out the website of the diocese of Biloxi, you'll see that St. Pauls, Our Lady of the Gulf, and St. Michaels are in pretty much the same shape (there may be others but those are the ones I remember off hand). Long Beach was lucky in some ways--the area of total devastation was the area south of the tracks, and for the most part, that was an area of middle to upper middle class homeowners, who, while they are taking a big hit to the pocketbook (not many had flood insurance)and have lost personal treasures, have the resources to rebuild--though that's not true for everyone. My brother's girlfriend had a second floor apartment near the beach. A barge is sitting there now, and other than the initial $2000 from FEMA, she has been unable to get any aid or insurance money--and since her job was to manage those apartments, she is now unemployed. Also, the city infrastructure is still basically there. Areas in Biloxi, which has a bay a few miles in back of the beach, are more devastated, and were home to poorer people. I suspect a donation to Catholic charities would be a big help.


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