Thursday, February 22, 2007

February 22 - The Team Went On

We all met up for breakfast at the Armory and afterwards Frank led us to a little garden outside the building that has been named the Prayer Garden and there the team met for devotions.

Immediately following that, Frank, Ben and Casey went back to Barb's house with some last touch up kitchen counter work, finishing HVAC vents and installation of a range hood. Greg and Kyle went to a home not far from the Armory to lay a tile floor. Mark, Linda, Abby, Frieder and Joel went to a house in Biloxi to accomplish some interior painting.

I gave the van to Mark and they dropped me off at the Days Inn where I finished some pictures from the morning and then hit the road on my bicycle. I rode down to the beach area and then west to Pass Christian. It was near a record hot day for this date (74 degrees), there was little wind and what wind there was turned out to be a returning wind so was at my back on the return trip. The sun was bright in a cloudless sky. It was perfect bike riding weather. The roads here have no shoulders so cyclists are in the traffic. The drivers were very courteous and it made my ride easier.

I took a number of pictures, some of which are at...

The beach area was the very hardest hit and the most drastically affected area and the storm is still so obvious. There are rows of empty foundation slabs strewn , still, with debris. I came to a slab upon which a house once stood that had marble floors throughout. I knew this as the marble floors were still there, actually polished by the weather, but a reminder that once a lovely home stood there, where now only sand and some remnants of the storm's destruction remain. The good news was, scattered among these empty slabs were new constructions. Folks rebuilding their homes, starting over.

There are new building codes, and much of the new construction is raised on block pillars about 12 feet off the ground.

I stopped to take a picture and a man passed by. I was standing in what obviously was, at one time, a parking lot. He said a municipal building had stood there, but had been completely destroyed. He mentioned that where I was standing, the water was approximately 8 feet deep the day after the storm.

As I pedaled west I happened to see a woman coming out of a FEMA trailer on to a vacant lot. Her house had stood there. A shipping container had broken loose from the dock (I would estimate a good half mile or more from her house) and had been deposited into her kitchen. The insurance company initially refused significant settlement as damage was due to flood. She is deciding whether to rebuild. She said if this were to repeat itself she just could not take losing everything again.

I continued on toward Pass Christian and with each mile there were even more examples of the destruction and rebuilding. I rode 32 miles, round trip, and never did I leave evidence of this storm that hit a year and a half ago. There is no way I could ever imagine what it must have been like to have weathered Katrina. I would think it would be similar to war.

Anyway, on the return trip I stopped at Grover's All Season Produce stand. Grover, Carl and Guy were there boiling peanuts. They offered me some coke a cola and let me try boiled peanuts; very good, actually. Grover has become quite a celebrity with my wife's students back in Buffalo. He's sending some boiled peanuts back to Buffalo with me for her students.

I finished the bike ride, Ben called and said they were heading back to the "compound".
The whole team met for dinner at a Mexican restaurant near the Days Inn. It was an enjoyable evening.

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