September 29, 2007

Gulfport & Biloxi

Today we went to see the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. We stopped at a Mississippi Visitor Center near Bay St. Louis where NASA also has a visitor center called the Stennis Space Center. They offer tours but we were unaware of this attraction and will have to wait until next time.

But we did take a look at this Lunar Lander...

and we also took a look at the black cat that just showed up the week before at the Mississippi Visitor Center. It was curled up so still on the hay that it looked like a statue and most of the people who walked by didn't even notice it.

In Bay St. Louis, we began to see houses still showing signs of Katrina.

Here's the bridge connecting Bay St. Louis to Pass Christian. The southern half of the new bridge replacing the span destroyed by Katrina is now open to two-way traffic.

Near Gulfport, we found this swimming pool missing its house. Many of the streets nearest the Gulf were similar.

Here's a video Marlon took of the Gulfport area.

Waffle House (the yellow sign) was one of the first businesses to rebuild on the Gulf Coast. There is probably a new Waffle House every 2 miles for 25 miles...and ALMOST nothing else.

In Gulfport we located the site of Marine Life Oceanarium, one of the many casualties of Hurricane Katrina.

The Oceanarium was the home to dolphins, sea lions and exotic birds. Many of the animals were evacuated before the storm. However 8 dolphins and 19 sea lions were left to ride out the storm in what staff members believed were safe areas.

Unfortunately, Katrina proved more powerful than ever expected as she devastated the park and set the remaining animals free into the Gulf. Most were recovered but several did lose their lives.

These pictures are a far cry from when Marlon visited Marine Life Oceanarium in 1999 below.

Further on in Biloxi, we ran across the Sharkheads Souvenir Store. It appears work is being done on the building, but it is far from completion.

Here is a YouTube video of what Sharkheads used to look like...
The Isle of Debris (I mean Capri) has reopened in Biloxi.

While the smaller Casino Magic next to it probably will never reopen. Harrah's has, however, purchased the land it sits on.

For more pictures of the Marine Life Oceanarium and the Gulfport-Biloxi area, go to http://public.fotki.com/Marlonfleenor/1/2007/september/gulf-coast-gulfport/ .

To be continued...

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