A Look Back At Landmarks, Then And Now - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Gulf Coast 08/29/06

A Look Back At Landmarks, Then And Now

By Walt Grayson

Hurricane Katrina wiped out many of the old landmarks that stood for decades along the coast. The wind and water wiped away houses, museums, restaurants, and the backdrop of life. 

We go back in time with some old footage, and peeks into the future of the gulf coast, as Walt Grayson remembers just a few of the lost landmarks.  So, make sure you watch the video for the full report.

"Those were the days, my friend. We thought they'd never end. Well, if it managed to survive Camille we thought it would never end, anyway. But we were wrong. Our Gulf Coast is not gone, but it will never be the same. This is what I looked for in those first shots from the helicopter after Katrina, the icon of the coast, the light house. It still stood. Not unscathed. The door was ripped off and i got to peek inside.

Quirks saved some things. For instance, the Walter Anderson Museum in downtown Ocean Springs was spared with just roof damage over the administrative section while the Anderson Family Compound, shearwater pottery was heavily damaged. We would have lost this, Walter Anderson's little room, had it not been moved from shearwater to the museum years ago.

Here's a couple of pre-Katrina landmarks in one shot. In the back ground is the foyer of the church of the redeemer, the only part of the church left standing after Camille. In the foreground, the ancient oak, called "The Ring in the Oak" for the unusual ring formation in one of its limbs. Is there any better symbol of strength and stability than an oak? Well, maybe rightly so. Here's the ring in the oak after katrina. It's worse for the wear, but still standing.

The Church of the Redeemer didn't fair as well. As if to show who's the big kid on the block now, Katrina finished off the foyer that Camille had graciously left standing. Now, there is a Katrina foyer still standing at St. Clare Episcopal Church along the Bay St. Louis, Waveland Beach.

The old Tullis-Tolidano Mansion has withstood every hurricane since it was built in the 1800s. Who knows that it might have stood Katrina, too, except this landed on top of it. One of the floating coast casinos. Just down from it, the old Seafood Museum didn't make it. Interesting that it had an exhibit inside listing all of the coast's hurricanes since the time of the explorers.

Now the museum is an exhibit to Katrina and the nights used to be so bright on the coast. Dimmed until a time when things get built back.  Building back has already started. The old, the landmarks, what's left of them, are becoming backdrops to the new coast, rising like a phoenix from the ruins of the old.

Here's to the way it was, with an anticipatory eye to the way it will be.  When it gets here, let's learn the lesson to hold it loosely, these days could become the good old days again someday, in just a matter of hours, as Katrina taught us."

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