March 03, 2007

Need it free

Taking the coastal highway through eastern Louisiana and across Mississippi is an exercise in Katrina reminders. Not that you'd need any more after New Orleans and points south, but this long stretch of mostly deserted highway (at least until well into Mississippi) is filled with them.

Piers on both sides of the road are now just rows of pylons, some broken or leaning over, many with birds sitting philosophically on them. Boats are to be found, but not quite where you might expect them -- deposited on the highway. A twisted and torn pile of metal on the left turns out to have once been an "Emergency Unit" vehicle. Houses are visibly derelict, several with signs that read "Do Not Enter, Not Safe, For Access Call [a number]." A truck tire is wrapped around an entire tree stump, uprooted. (How did the tire get there?)

This must have once been a vibrant community of fishermen and boat renters, plus other water sports kinds of things. Now it is devastation. And one large sign as I'm getting close to the state border sums it up: "NEED FREE HELP."

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