On the afternoon of the first day in my Biloxi cottage, I headed off with camera in hand for a walk along the beach. My feelings of strangeness and questions of “What am I doing here?” evaporated during the walk. In connecting with the familiar sky, ocean and wildlife, I began to feel more at home.
I was breathless as I got close to home – my body tired from the unaccustomed exercise and the effort of walking in the sand. It required waiting for quite a bit of traffic to pass before I was able to cross the busy highway. My heart smiled at the sight of school children out for picnic and play at the colorful corner park, obviously built since Hurricane Katrina.
There is evidence and talk everywhere about the effects of Katrina. The miles of blocks along the beach highway (Highway 90) are occupied by remnants of driveways leading to yards populated only by massive oak trees. I stumbled upon a discussion on the local news of the concern that Biloxi residents have about preserving those oaks as hotels and other enterprises come in to build on the now available gulf view land.
Since that first walk, I have located the grocery stores, McAllister Deli, the post office and the mall. I have attended a spiritual meetup group, visited the Gulfport Unity church and had a nice conversation with my hosts, who like me, both have connections to Louisiana and LSU. It is going to be fun. Come see me if you are in the neighborhood!