After my photo fails and headwinds from Dauphin Island I spent my next evening with the lovely Barbara & Bernie in Gulfport.


My lovely hosts Barbara & Bernie

The ride there was a long one and I didn’t arrive until just after dark (my first dark riding which wasn’t very nice although to be honest I’m so luminous at night I think I can be seen from the moon!) but Barbara and Bernie were amazing and we had a delicious dinner with Gumbo, fried spinach leaves, seafood soup and fried Okra. It was delicious. After my tiring day and lots of food I found myself exhausted and I opted for an early night where a photo book in the guest bedroom caught my attention. It was documenting Hurricane Katrina. I’d remembered watching the news in 2005 and seeing the images of the floods, people being airlifted from their roof tops and a few days later the rubble and destruction that was revealed when the waters receded. However I don’t know if it was because I was younger but it had felt far away and distant. It had no connection to my existence, like one of those disasters you watch on the news sympathetically until (in the good old days) Trevor McDonald wishes you goodnight whereby you promptly switch everything off and carry on with your evening unfazed (it sounds bad but we all do it). Yet now, I was sat in a house that 10 years before had been sheltering 15 people who’s own homes were underwater and it all suddenly felt much more real. Barbara and Bernie had stayed through the storm luckily suffering minimal damage and, living on a small hill, little flooding. However, others were not so lucky and the community emerged after the storm to a neighbourhood that was unrecognisable.

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 13.06.13

Gulport – thanks Google for the picture!

Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 13.12.56

Flooding in New Orleans – apparently 80% of the city was underwater while over 90% of the coastal towns in Mississippi were flooded.

The storm surge reached 28 foot (9 meters) and the water broke through the levee system in a number of places. The elevation map of New Orleans below makes it strikingly clear why the flooding was quite so bad. Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 13.20.18 I have to say, I think that knowing my home were positioned so much lower than water level would be somewhat unnerving. New Orleans is an amazing place though so perhaps I could live with it! Leaving Gulfport the next morning and cycling along the beach I came across something pretty special. It wasn’t just the buildings that had been damaged from the storm but of course many of the trees had also been ripped up and killed by the salt water. From the broken trunks some creative chap (actually a guy called Dayton Scoggins and then Marlin Miller) had thought to do this: IMG_0344 IMG_0345 IMG_0368 IMG_0365


This one’s for you Sally Clare!

There were a number of them along the beach road and i thought they were really something. After such devastation they seemed so fitting.

On the last stretch into New Orleans I rode through an area called East Land Bridge. Bordering Lake St. Catherine it’s a narrow island and was hit hard by Katrina. Many of the homes were obviously new or still in the process of being constructed and there were a considerable number of empty plots, I assume as a result of the hurricane. I particularly liked the new home names…


Anyone who has a beer on their house name is a friend of mine!


Kinda cute huh!


Love it!

… it turned out not everyone was getting into the spirit of things!



Dauphin Island to New Orleans – 1st – 3rd Feb 2015

Total so far: 1491km


5 thoughts on “Katrina

  1. Tori, sharpening my chainsaw right now, ready to sculpt the trees in our garden. Luckily mums out tomorrow, so don’t tell her!


  2. Haha bushy I was literally just thinking how much you would love those tree sculptures!! Ness is going to go mad. I love my little lady bird tree 😍 I will take that as my little valentines from you Toz! 😘🐞


    1. Hi Innaya!
      Thank you very much for leaving a comment on the blog. I’m sorry not to have replied before… I have been camping and so have not had very good internet. The trees are so cool aren’t they! The artists carve their pictures directly into the wood! They use big chainsaws to get the main shape and then smaller tools to carve the detail. What you are looking at when you see the pictures is the old trunk carved into shapes! Amazing huh! The trees sadly dies after Hurricane Katrina hit the area in 2005, partly because of the strong winds but also because the waves were very big causing lots of flooding (salt water is not very good for trees!) and so rather than lovely trees along the beach there were just dead trunks which only had a few branches left. I thought it was really nice that someone had thought to carve the dead trunks into something creative and beautiful. Now there are lots all the way along the beach front. I only took photos of some of them but there was one I really liked that had dolphins jumping along the branches!
      I hope you are well and having fun in Miss Clare’s class!
      Take care!
      p.s. Miss Clare sent me your classes blog so I will have a look at that too!


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