Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Our own private beach

We are just a block away from where I posted yesterday afternoon, on a different beach parking lot in Long Beach, Mississippi (map). After I posted here, I went out to wander around, looking for signs, or maybe a suitable place to park for the night. The Gulfport/Biloxi casinos really did not call to us -- we knew parking there would not be on the beach.

I found signs on the beach itself ("No Camping," among other things) with a notice that rules were enforced by the Harrison County Sheriff. The only sign I found in the parking areas, though, forbids posting of vehicles for sale there. The signs are clearly post-Katrina -- it's interesting that this is the issue of most concern to the city of Long Beach. I will say that we saw plenty of vehicles parked in abandoned lots across the street with "For Sale" signs on them.

Anyway, the beauty of the spot and the fact that there was clearly plenty of parking on a weekday prompted me to call the Long Beach police department. The call-taker there didn't really know what the city's policy was on staying overnight in the lots -- she thought I'd need to call city hall. But city hall was closed by then, and when I asked her directly about enforcement, she told me that Long Beach officers would not bother us unless they received some sort of complaint. I also asked about jurisdiction -- apparently, the sheriff patrols the beach, but their jurisdiction stops at the edge of the sand. Long Beach PD enforces the asphalt. So we took that for as close as we could get to "permission" and moved over to this part of the lot so we could be right next to the sand, which has the consistency of sugar here.

One or two people have passed by this stretch of beach, but we've mostly had it all to ourselves. In better times these beaches were crowded with tourists, but there are still no services open along this stretch of coast.

Speaking of services, they are coming soon. 18 months ago Louise snapped this photo of an empty square of land where the Waffle House used to stand, with a sign proudly proclaiming "We'll be Back!" Here is the same spot today, which is just a block west of where we are parked:

They kept their promise -- the sign in the window says "Opening Soon" and there were folks in there last night working. This photo also reveals that traffic is picking up on US90, and there are now working traffic signals along this stretch. The heavy equipment on the right is busy today removing the last vestiges of the Kangaroo gas station.

A bit closer to us, McDonalds is also rebuilding:

The gray foundation in the foreground is actually a different business. The new McDonald's will be on the rosy fill that the maroon pickup truck is sitting atop. Rebuilding here means raising the foundations above the guestimate for the next surge.

Right across the street from us, Burger King is much further along:

The building was without signage or awnings when we pulled in yesterday -- those went up this morning. The architecture is surprising for Burger King, until you realize that hurricane-ready buildings can have no eves, leading to this boxy, "roofless" store. Even the drive-through has no overhang to catch the 150mph winds. And, here again, they've raised the foundation another dozen feet or so from pre-Katrina levels.

Today, we will continue east into Biloxi, where we will have no choice but to head north to I-10, as the bridge is still out east of there. We may swing back down to 90 on the other side of the bay. I've neglected to mention here before that we are heading to Montgomery, Alabama -- the Red Cross has a disaster "hot site" there that needs some work. We need to be there Thursday night, so we will spend today and tomorrow working our way there.

I'll close with a couple more shots of our great digs here in Long Beach:

Our private beach.

Flanked by casinos in the distance. The shack on the right is a snow-cone stand, which is closed now but I imagine open on weekends, as it looks like the beach gets some traffic now.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there, Louise! It's the young whippersnapper with the small font size! I hope you visited me because I changed my font size just for you.
    I finally made it over to your site. What an adventure you're on. I envy you.
    We are originally from Louisiana and moved up right after Katrina/Rita to north Mississippi (Mi'ssippi). We went down to the Gulf Coast Easter before last on a mission trip with the youth and it was awful. I'm glad to see some progress in the clean-up has been made.
    I've put you on my favorites and will keep an eye (hurricane joke, there) on your exploits.
    Have fun and be safe.
    Activities Coordinator


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