I told myself I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in any way. Yet here I am, arriving in Biloxi (in the rain no less), at one of the very places most impacted by the hurricane.
I stopped at Beau Rivage for a moment to get a bird’s eye view of the small waves rolling toward the shore, the boats gently rocking as the waves pushed forward. Peace. Beau Rivage was severely damaged in the storm. It took a year for it to reopen.
Next door, the Hard Rock Casino Resort never got a chance to open. Katrina struck just a few days before it was supposed to open its doors for the first time. It took nearly two years for the Hard Rock to rebuild. The only thing that survived Katrina was the giant guitar that proudly graces its entrance today.
Katrina’s destruction can never be forgotten, especially when driving on Highway 90. As I headed toward Ocean Springs, I tried to recall all that was there before the storm — and all that is not there now. Casino Magic — gone. J.L. Scott Marine Education Center — gone. Isle of Capri — the Coast’s oldest casino — much larger than before.
The Biloxi-Ocean Springs bridge used to be a drawbridge. Rickety. Slippery when wet. The new bridge is a giant, high-rise bridge. Six lanes instead of four. The nice thing is there is a pedestrian/bike lane, too, for those who choose to walk or cycle. Many do, often just for the exercise.
Nobody was walking today. Rain kept them away I guess. Here’s a picture of the bridge taken from Front Beach in Ocean Springs looking back toward Biloxi.