Wednesday, February 27, 2019
We are in no hurry to get to our next destination, Pine Crest RV Park in Slidell, Louisiana. We won’t be able to arrive there before noon and the office is closed for the lunch hour. The fast route is taking Interstate 10 almost directly to our new home of three nights but the coast route of US 90 will take us through the towns that were devastated by two hurricanes- the 1969 category 5 storm Hurricane Camille and the 2005 category 3 storm Katrina. Of the two Katrina caused more damage due to the higher storm surge of 28 feet. We wanted to see what progress has been made almost 14 years later.
Driving through Mobile is usually no big deal. Traffic isn’t that bad on the interstate. Surface streets are a different matter. Approximately 26 miles after leaving downtown Mobile we cross into Mississippi. We’ll again cross another state line on our way to Slidell, that of Mississippi and Louisiana. That’s three states in one morning.
We zinged off towards Pascagoula (22,000 souls) in which the Pascagoula River runs (aka the Singing River) which brought us to the westbound US 90, nicknamed the Old Spanish Trail which eventually would extend from Fort Lauderdale FL to San Diego CA. Click on the link or copy and paste for more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Spanish_Trail_(auto_trail). US 90 is the main coastal route between Mobile and New Orleans. US 90 goes through all of the towns on the coast, sometimes right on the white sand beaches of the Gulf.
We cross over Biloxi Bay via the Biloxi Bay Bridge. It was heavily damaged by Katrina in 2005, rebuilt and reopened in 2007. Biloxi (44,000 souls) is a casino town, a fun and sun town with beautiful white beaches.
We stopped in an area that looked like an unkempt park across from Harrah’s Casino. It wasn’t an unkempt park, is was in fact a series of vacant lots. Prior to Hurricane Katrina most of the casinos were located on floating barges, now they are all large land based buildings.
As we looked around heading west it was apparent that a lot of new commercial structures had been built including a couple of small malls. A few new homes were under construction, some had already been built but the majority of the residential lots along Beach Blvd and for blocks inland are still are vacant. We pass Confederate President Jefferson Davis’s lovely retirement home.
We find that true in Gulfport (71,000 souls) , Long Beach (15,000 souls) and Pass Christian (5800 souls), in fact all of the coastal towns large and small. Most of the new construction, at least of residences are being built on stilts as most of a hurricane’s devastation in coastal locations is the tidal surge. All of these places populations were downwardly affected by Hurricane Katrina but are slowly recovering.
We cross another long bridge over Bay St. Louis to the city with the same name. The old bridge was destroyed by Katrina was replaced by a new one. Bay St. Louis (12,600 souls). Bay St. Louis was ground zero in 2005 with a storm surge over two feet higher than the 28 foot surge of Camille.
Not long after leaving Bay St. Louis we pass the entrance to NASA’s ,Stennis Space Center rocket testing facility. At the facility is the Infinity Science Visitors Center where visitors learn that the facility specializes in all aspects of earth and space science. The place is loaded with exhibits that would be of interest to anyone.
Crossing the Pearl River brings us into the State of Louisiana and to our home of three days, the Pine Crest RV Park in Slidell, LA.