In Katrina’s Wake

It was August when Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the gulf coast. In the hours that followed, entire cities were crushed by the storm. Lives were lost, families were displaced, and homes were destroyed.  Nine years later, Katrina’s presence is still felt on the coast. Her footprint is everywhere.

In Bay St. Louis, along the Jordan River, sits a once grandiose home. Built on a Coca Cola fortune, the acreage includes two homes, a boathouse, and what appears to have been grazing land for buffalo. The scene now is eerily reminiscent of Gone With The Wind. Approaching the house, I felt like Scarlett returning to a war-torn Tara. The exterior walls survived the hurricane, but the interior was ravaged by the storm. And for nine years, it has sat untouched. My friends and I scooted past the “private property” sign and made our way down the winding driveway to get a peek at the ghost mansion.

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Mat Kearney is one of my all time favorite artists. I’ve heard him say that his inspiration for the song “All I Need” were friends who had to flee their home during Katrina, leaving behind all that they owned. These lyrics took on a new meaning for me as I tip-toed my way through the broken glass and sagging hallways.

“The walls are shaking, I hear them sound the alarm
Glass is breaking so don’t let go of my arm
Grab your bags and a picture of where we met
All that we’ll leave behind and all that’s left”

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