Around the GO Zone in 60 Seconds: FEMA Blasted, Bennie Nails It, Gene is Pi$$ed, Cash Clogs, Sister Mary, Brother Charlie & DC Politics, Orange Grove Retail Explosion plus New EOCs & Firehouse

I’ve been out lately so I’m trying to catch up.  It took me 50 seconds to write that long title so I better be quick. First is the verbal a$$ whipping laid on FEMA by Rep Barney Frank of Massachusetts with an assist from our own Bennie Thompson as told by the Sun Herald:

At a congressional hearing of two House subcommittees Wednesday, officials from FEMA and HUD failed to satisfy congressional critics about their efforts to find housing for 22,000 Katrina victims still living in trailers nearly three years after the storm.

House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank, D-Mass., who attended the hearing, was incensed HUD and FEMA have not resolved a dispute over funding affordable housing. And House Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., said lawmakers should tie strings to federal funds to prevent the diversion of housing funds to other uses, such as Mississippi’s decision to spend $600 million in Housing and Urban Development funding on port improvements in Gulfport.

“We should not send money for one purpose and allow federal government officials to allow a local official to change it,” Thompson said. “While I agree that expanding the port will benefit the Gulf’s economy, I have serious doubts as to whether the new port workers are going to have anywhere to live.” Continue reading “Around the GO Zone in 60 Seconds: FEMA Blasted, Bennie Nails It, Gene is Pi$$ed, Cash Clogs, Sister Mary, Brother Charlie & DC Politics, Orange Grove Retail Explosion plus New EOCs & Firehouse”

Around in the GO Zone in 60 Seconds: WQRZ, Beauvoir, Quick Take & Katrina Relief

As we rapidly approach the 3rd anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the memories of what we lost fade somewhat we are confronted by the need to move away from a recovery/rebuild mindset to the new normal. In the mid 70s as a child I remember having relatives visit us in Waveland. We rode down Beach Boulevard pointing out the still vacant lots and recounting the houses that Camille took. Years later we still knew what once stood on those vacant lots but the fact Camille took them was no longer such an important detail in respects. With the benefit of my adult experiences with Katrina I now recognize that process as one of healing. While we are a long way from being healed as a slabbed community, there is no doubt in my mind we have begun the process.

The process is hard in respects; there is that part of our community forever left behind on August 29, 2005. There is also the post Katrina experiences that we will someday need to put in the past to further the healing process such as being flooded with well intentioned volunteers and their creations like the New Waveland Cafe. I too count eating with the hippies as one of my post Katrina experiences. Nowdy those were the days…..

The fact remains we must move on in order to fully recover and I was reminded of that when I surfed the news this morning and found 4 stories that fit that broad theme. Continue reading “Around in the GO Zone in 60 Seconds: WQRZ, Beauvoir, Quick Take & Katrina Relief”

Beauvoir is Back!

A symbol of our continued recovery is repaired and ready again for tourist. It has also attracted the interests of the national media. Kat Bergeron has the Sun Herald story.

In the history of Hurricane Katrina recovery, Beauvoir is a Humpty Dumpty “back together again” story getting national attention.

The restored 1852 National Historic Landmark reopens Tuesday with a public celebration and tours for the first time since the 2005 storm destroyed all but the house on the beachfront estate where Jefferson Davis spent his retirement. Continue reading “Beauvoir is Back!”

Speaking of Horizons (Updated)

In one of my many posts yesterday I mentioned the Horizons development in Stone County going up in smoke. Like Pearl River County to the west Stone County has been a net Katrina beneficiary. Geography made land speculation inevitable. Horizons was the over the top project that smart money knew would never come to fruition but not so fast according to Sun Herald article source Gerald Bond:

Unpaid debts and a stagnant housing market are jeopardizing a megadevelopment proposed in Stone County, but county officials are hearing an auction scheduled for Friday will be called off because developers are going to catch up on their loan payments.

“I’m hearing from good sources that they’re going to catch it up, but who knows?” Chancery Clerk Gerald Bond said Wednesday. “There’s a possibility they won’t.”

Mississippi Investors VI, a real estate investment partnership based in Florida, announced plans in January 2007 for a community of 8,000 single-family homes in 12 distinct villages. The company has purchased more than 10,000 acres from various companies and individuals. Continue reading “Speaking of Horizons (Updated)”

Twofer Tuesday: Isn’t Mississippi fixed already?

Locally the Carter-Habitat work project continues to dominate the local headlines. There were two stories in today’s Sun Herald that read better from the back to the front of today’s paper. So first is the perspectives of some Habitat volunteers and then those of former President Carter.

Perhaps the most common misconception about the Mississippi Gulf Coast is that rebuilding is over.

Like Nowdy said, 2 years and 256 days seems like a long time.

Almost three years of bouncing around? Isn’t Mississippi fixed already?

Adele Lyons of Biloxi puts it better than anyone I’ve heard in my nine months on the Coast. At a recent conference in Washington, she heard the dreaded, “Oh, you’re not finished yet?”

“Look how long it takes to build a new store. A year? And that’s with a perfect planning process. Three years would not be unheard of for a big development,” she said. Obviously, our conditions are far from perfect.

Lyons works for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which has donated more than $1 million for the weeklong housing blitz. Continue reading “Twofer Tuesday: Isn’t Mississippi fixed already?”

But for the S.S. Camille it was time to say goodbye

What better anology to symbolize our recovery than having Grass Lawn brought back from the dead on the same day the S.S. Camille was demolished. As a child I remember both that boat and the barge that Camille laid across that section of Highway 90 back in 1970.  With the tug boat gone the trip on Highway 90 in West Gulfport just won’t be the same. Here is the Video report from WLOX. Following is their print story:

“We’re getting ready to move it. Tear it down. Time for it to go,” said owner Lucille Moody, as demolition crews prepared to tear down the S.S. Hurricane Camille tugboat.

Moody is bittersweet about losing the 72 foot long landmark.

Long a popular tourist attraction, in recent years the landmark deteriorated into more of an eyesore.

“It’s rusty. It’s been sitting there for 35 years. And it was built in 1943. So, it’s time for it to go,” said Moody.

As friends joined her in a champagne toast, a growing crowd gathered to watch or photograph this bit of coast history. Continue reading “But for the S.S. Camille it was time to say goodbye”