Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gulfport, MS

I wanted to stop in Gulfport/Biloxi area, to see the changes since Hurricane Katrina. It was the week after Christmas, 2003, when I was through here last. I had heard about all the homes along the coast being destroyed, but could not imagine the sight. Now that I am here, I can't even begin to describe the difference. All those antebellum and large, older homes are gone. You see a few slabs, sometimes a fence or a gate, but mostly just big empty lots, all grown over. Many with for sale signs. You see large parking lots, with no stores. Buildings still boarded over. You also see the new casinos and the new Walmarts and the other new businesses, too.

This was in my GPS locations for 'offbeat tourist attractions'. It's offbeat alright. This is the world's largest rocking chair. Built by the Roy E. DeDeaux clan, the family actually does build furniture, including rocking chairs like this, only smaller.

One place I had to see though, was the Friendship Oak. It was the one place I remembered from my trip back in 2003. This is the sign in front today.

The tree today.

This was the sign in 2003.

The tree in 2003. Notice the stairs and platform? They were destroyed by Katrina. The tree survived, but man's additions did not.

This is the building next to the tree, Hardy Hall, of the University of Southern Mississippi, Gulfport Campus, 2003. Notice the Christmas lights in the windows?

This is the hall today. Not so Hardy anymore. Boarded up, instead of lit up. The administration building from 2003 is also abandoned and boarded up, but the university is still going and they have built a new building.

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