Return to the Gulf Coast (Part 1)

(4/15/09) - Shelia and I take a few days off and venture back to visit relatives, relax and check up on the progress being made as the Mississippi Gulf Coast continue to rebuild...

Shelia and I finally made it back to the Gulf Coast!

After a few days visiting her grandmother in southern Mississippi, we ventured back to the Gulf Coast to see how things have progressed since our last visit in 2007.  I must tell you the folks along the coast have come a long way since Katrina hit in '05 and if you haven't paid a visit to that area in some time, plan a visit or vacation's really nice.

In the process, we made a few detours...drove a bit of the Natchez Trace Parkway...and visited some other historic towns we've never been to before.

There are a ton of pictures so I've split this up into parts.

Welcome to the Mississippi Gulf Coast!  This is just west of Gulfport in Long Beach, MS looking at US 90, the Gulf Coast Highway.

Our first stop was for some coffee from the newly opened McDonalds in Pass Christian.

One of the many new homes being constructed along the Gulf Coast Highway in Pass Christian.

Here's one of the more classic beachfront homes that have been restored since Katrina.

Another classic home in Pass Christian that has been restored.

Many of the homes located along Scenic Drive in Pass Christian were here before Katrina, before Camille (1969) and are still standing with some modern renovations.

The home that occupies this spot is not the original home, but is a replica of what was known as "the Dixie White House"  or Beaulieu in Pass Christian.  Presidents Grant and Wilson stayed in the original home.  Much of it was destroyed by hurricane Camille in 1969 but has been beautifully restored and was updated again after Katrina.

Another beautiful beachfront mansion in Pass Christian still undergoing renovations since Katrina.

This is a new Walmart Supercenter going up in Pass Christian.  Notice how far off the Gulf Coast Highway the new store sits.  I remember the original store was much closer to the highway...and the coastline.

Driving east along US 90 we still see empty lots where beautiful homes and restaurants stood before Katrina.  But incredible progress has been made in the past four years.

This is historic St. Michael's Catholic Church in Biloxi.  While the hull of the church withstood the wrath of Katrina, much of the beautiful stained glass was washed away.  As you can see, some of the glass is still missing.

Looking from St. Michaels across US 90 is the new Isle of Capri casino and hotel.

(This picture I took especially for fellow Parrothead Shane Holinde).  Construction is coming along on Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Casino and Hotel which is scheduled to open in 2010.

Storm clouds over Biloxi Beach.  Call me weird, but I love it when there are thunderstorms on the coast.  I didn't get my wish this day as most of the storms were further north.  This shot is looking west toward Gulfport.

Here is another shot at Biloxi Beach looking east toward Biloxi.

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