We weren’t sure what to expect when we pulled into Gulfport, MS. Three months after Hurricane Katrina tore through the Mississippi Gulf Coast, destroying 90 miles of coastline, it was hard to imagine what kind of stop this would be for StoryCorps. Would people be ready to talk about their experiences? And if they were, would they be willing to find the time in their already upside down lives to come share their stories? Fortunately, it seems like there is a real desire among these Mississipians to put on the record exactly what happened here and how it’s changed their lives.
Mississippi Public Broadcasting has made it possible for us to set up in the parking lot of the Prime Outlets mall at the intersection of two major roads. It’s important that we are located in a place that is easy for people to access. Many of the roads are still closed and those that are still open are often without street signs or clogged with traffic. Above, highway 90, the major coastal highway, is completely closed.
While so much has changed on the Gulf, the sunsets are still beautiful. But even bathed in pink light, the bulldozer on the beach and the scattered remnants of a pier are reminders of how much has changed here.