The land mass between Louisiana and Alabama

My landlord really rubbed me the wrong way on Sunday morning and it is still bothering me. I need to vent.

I called her because we were unsure if we needed to install the custom fit hurricane shutters on our Miami home. Our lease specified that we were responsible for putting the shutters “up” and I had made it clear that I wanted her to make the call as to when that would happen. I did not want to be held responsible for making the decision if the shutters were necessary or not.

The conversation went something like this:

Landlord: “I’ve been watching the weather and I don’t think it is necessary to cover the windows today.”
Me: (always feeling the need to over explain myself) “Great. You know my parents lived through Hurricane Katrina in Gulfport, Mississippi and naively, I considered myself a hurricane expert. I realized, as we prepared for Issac here in Miami, how ridiculous that is- I actually know absolutely nothing and appreciate your insight.” (It never hurts to kiss-up to the land lord right? Never know when you might need something?)
Landlord: Well, with Katrina, it really wasn’t the hurricane that was the problem, but the after math. After the hurricane rolled through we all breathed a sigh of relief that a bullet had been dodged. Then the levees broke and that is when all the problems started.
Me: That might be true in New Orleans but there was quite a bit of damage on the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Quite a bit of damage? Kallaher (that’s me), is that all you’ve got? Are you kidding me? I can’t tell you how many awesome come backs I’ve had in my mirror. Sometimes would have, should have, could have is the story of my life.

Anyway…after Katrina savaged the Gulf Coast my beloved Gulfport, Mississippi will never look the same I don’t have to look at the statistics to tell you that 75% of the homes were completely destroyed. I don’t have to look because I can use my mom’s bridge club as a gauge. 9 of the 12 women in her card group had homes that were leveled to the ground. I mean leveled, nothing left but a concrete slab and side-walk.

We had friends that put on life jackets and were holding onto the gutters on their roof as the storm passed through town. The lucky ones were able to crawl into their attics and pray as all of their material belongings were sloshed around in their homes below.

The gorgeous Southern homes that lined Highway 90 on the beach, including Jefferson Davis’s home in Biloxi, were leveled to the ground. But even crazier than that, homes in our old neighborhood, Bayou Oaks, about 2 miles south of Interstate 10, 3 miles north of the beach were razed. Katrina had no mercy.

After Issac passed through my new home town, I breathed a quick sigh of relief that his bite was not as big as his bark. I woke up yesterday morning and turned on the TV hoping the weather man would have news that Issac would not gain more muscle as he approached the Gulf Coast.

The forecast gave me nothing. because there was no information on Mississippi. Every time I turned on the news the weather man was reporting on New Orleans, Mobile, Apalachicola and Tampa.

Do you know how many people live in Apalachicola? Well, I do because I looked it up! 2, 248 as of July, 2011 according to google.

And do you know how many live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast? Almost 200,000! Google says there were almost 70,000 people in the city of Gulfport in 2011 and these numbers I am quoting you do not even include people outside of the city limits. And by the way, I am only a tiny bit biased. Yes, my parents moved to Gulfport when I was 14 and I had the best highschool experience any American girl could hope for, BUT I also have family in Apalachicola. Dear Aunt Beverly lives in this tiny fishing village and has a flight booked to visit us this Friday. We talked to her and she is fine… but does this tiny town really need the national news spotlight?

Apparently, I’m not the only one who was a little annoyed by the lack of information on the “landmass between Louisiana and Alabama.” Last night my Facebook page blew up with complaints from my Gulfport High School and Ole Miss friends that the media was not covering the area as they should. Some natives waved a few white flags. They told their friends that they were growing tired of the complaints and the “landmass” references… but I wasn’t. I did not blame them for their anger and frankly I waned more information. I needed to know what was going on Mississippi!

I think someone got the memo, or maybe saw the swell of complaints. I do not know what the weather man Jim Cantore did during hurricane Katrina but I know it was not good because people do not like him. Mr. Cantore I think you need to give it up and go report on the rains in Seattle or something because you are not welcome.

This morning, when I turned on the news I was happy to see a Good Morning America reporter standing on the Mississippi beach. Robin Roberts probably had a lot to do with it. She is from the neighboring town of Gulfport that was once so architecturally beautiful, pre-Katrina, Pass Christian, Mississippi. But the Mississippi Gulf Coast coverage was not limited to GMA. Consistently today on the Weather Channel I received reports from my old home town.

My parents had to leave Gulfport after Katrina left her mark. My dad’s office was destroyed and the company’s investors would not support a rebuild on the beach. My mom says she sometimes feels guilty because so many of their friends lost so much in that storm and she felt almost blessed. The company relocated to Dallas and they moved to the city where we lived the following March, the day their second grandchild was born.

So tonight, I go to bad happy that I have updated information on the weather channel but worried about the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Thank you for letting me say my peace. And if you wouldn’t mind, please include the Mississippi Gulf Coast, along with New Orleans in your prayers tonight. Tomorrow August 29th marks the 7 year anniversary of the date that Hurricane Katrina ravaged our Gulf Coast and no one wants a repeat.

See the unbelievable Mississippi Gulf Coast before and after Katrina pictures on the linked website below:

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