Remembering Hurricane Katrina in Photographs: Signs in Biloxi, 2005
S igns, signs, everywhere there’s signs; and there were plenty of signs that Hurricane Katrina left its mark on the Mississippi Gulf Coast ten years ago. Signs which were mangled. Signs which were torn apart. Signs that were missing altogether…
…and signs which were completely spared from the wrath of that powerful storm.
In their own way, the signs — just like the destroyed buildings; the downed trees; the disturbed graves and headstones; the animals who are indigenous to the area; and the people themselves — tell stories about what exactly happened on that morning of Monday, August 29, 2005.
Remnants of signs — some of which were no longer recognizable — hovered over what were once fuel stations whose barren islands are the only evidence left that they ever existed. Signs of metal, plastic, wood, glass, cardboard, paper — no material was impervious to the torrential rains, rushing floodwaters and gusting winds. Signs for food, casinos, souvenirs and even loans inform passersby of what once existed but now is long gone.
Even the iconic guitar of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino suffered from damage caused by Hurricane Katrina, which forced the date of the grand opening — already set for Thursday, September 1, 2005, as construction of the property was just about completed — to be postponed to almost two years later on Saturday, July 7, 2007…
…and yet other signs — such as the one for Regions Bank on Lameuse Street in downtown Biloxi — remained inexplicably unscathed.
Up and down the coast along Beach Boulevard — which is also United States Highway 90 — the signs mixed amongst the hardy yet legendary live oak trees which appeared to have died but actually withstood the punishment they endured and eventually returned to their glorious splendor once again; and they tell their story in the photographs shown below.
Additional photographs — most never before published or posted on the Internet — are still to come in future articles.
Photographs ©2005 by Brian Cohen.