A wildland firefighter removes a tree from a fence with a chainsaw.
Wind and waves are always rearranging barrier islands. If you’ve ever stood on the beach at the edge of the water and watched the sand sloshing around your feet in the waves, you’ve seen it action.
While Hurricane Katrina pulverized the Mississippi Gulf Coast early on Monday, August 29 I visited the little shotgun shack in Tupelo where Elvis Presley was born.
Gulf Islands forwarded a nice letter to me from a man who had read my article about the barrier islands after Hurricane Katrina. He worked there a long time ago and remembers it fondly. I’m pleased that he actually took the time to write to me.
The swarms of biting insects made unpleasant an otherwise beautiful day. It was slow at work as usual. Sometimes I feel like a social worker for park visitors. I listen to their hurricane stories. I’m also noticing more of these Route-66 types: people who are traveling through the area and want to work for a […]
I spent much of the last two weeks preparing for a program nobody attended today. I’m pretty disappointed. The curiosity-seekers who visit here are starting to get to me. These people are not visiting the park because they are interested in the park, they are visiting because they want to see destruction. I’m getting tired […]
A cross-section of post-Katrina tourists came through the visitor center today. Today’s attendance included a trickle of out of town visitors not involved in any relief efforts. At Mammoth Cave I enjoyed not having to satisfy people’s curiosity. I find myself answering questions about the destruction with as few words as possible. These people are […]
I actually had a pretty good day. What’s going on? My boss gave me a good year-end evaluation and I now have a work plan for the next year. This is the first real direction I’ve gotten from work since August 27, 2005 when they said, “evacuate.” Went to yoga this evening. I am sore, […]
Back to work in Disasterland. Carol, our volunteer, and I hosted about twenty little kids and their parents who are living on a cruise ship in Pascagoula. FEMA and some Americorps volunteers arranged for them to visit the park. Carol taught them to make Christmas tree ornaments out of dried starfish (ordered from a catalog; […]
We offered a campfire program to the “campers”, a.k.a. the displaced persons now inhabiting our campground. Only a few people showed and they really just wanted to hang out. I did a little informal interpretation. It’s very different from the when the usual campers are here.
I notice today for the first time a search-and-rescue mark on my door. When I open the door I usually have my head down looking at the key, so I never saw it. Today I just happened to be admiring the hurricane shmutz still adorning the building exterior. It’s not a proper SAR mark-in an […]
The apartment complex management held a meeting for the tenants last night with their insurance rep. They decided the entire complex needs to be rehabilitated and we’re all going to have to move within the next few months. The plan (a very loose plan with no real specifics) is to shuffle us around as they […]
My boss and I marked out office and storage space with masking tape in our temporary visitor center, a massive prefab-trailer thing. I made up a list of boat supplies we’ll need to start marsh tours again (our boat house is in pancake form down in the marsh). Today the district biologist learned that most […]
I spent most of the work day preparing a shipment of soggy, moldy files. I can’t believe how long it took. I had trouble finding dry ice, something I have no experience using. Apparently when Wal-Mart is out of dry ice you’re out of dry ice. I was afraid we no longer lived in a […]
The yoga studio opened back up a couple of weeks ago. I went back to class today and it felt pretty good. Everybody has a sad story now. The same sad story.
I went with another ranger to check out Cat Island, the forgotten island of our park’s collection. The handful of homes on the island’s private property were destroyed as was our little storage shed. I got a chance to operate our 32-foot Boston Whaler, which was good practice. I haven’t piloted a boat in over […]
The park’s neighbors at the Gulf Coast Research Lab donated two hundred and something pounds of live shrimps to our camp today. The shrimps were raised in a pond as part of an aquaculture experiment. The facility was badly damaged by the storm and the lab needed to get rid of them. So we ate […]
Back to work today. The recovery effort at the park is starting to wind down. The current incident team will be replaced by a smaller one next week. I found some stuff saved from my office, mostly books and training manuals.
Some park rangers in Bandelier sent us some uniform parts to replace those lost in the hurricane. I got a sweater, a winter cap, and a hat band. I lost mostly winter uniform stuff in the flood. Not that I need it right now.
I went out to West Ship Island again to take photos for the incident information officer.