Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Views from up the Pearl River near Jackson, Mississippi

I recently went on a fishing trip up the Pearl River north of Jackson, Mississippi. It's a short trip up the Natchez Trace from where I live. The weather was excellent with temperatures in the mid 80s and a light wind. I didn't catch many fish but this was a photo opportunity for me as well. The fall colors were very vibrant. We haven't had any rain here in a few weeks and the colors are near their peak.

I did see two alligators but wasn't able to get very close for a good picture. They are rather camera shy. The one I did get a picture of slipped into the water soon after it was taken. There are some rather large ones in the river and Ross Barnette Reservoir which is fed by the Pearl. They had their first ever legal alligator hunt on the river about a month ago. There were strict regulations on how they were taken.

The trees that are so red are cyprus. The water was rather low and clearer than usual because of the lack of rain. I usually fish for white perch or bass on the river.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Hurricane Katrina-Views from the Gulf Coast

Yesterday I went to Pascagoula, Mississippi, on a mission trip with members of my local church. We went down to put insulation and sheetrock up in two houses that were damaged by hurricane Katrina.

The owners at the house where I worked had left before the storm and returned to find that their house had extensive water damage and everything in it was destroyed. They had lived there for 40 years. They slept on the floor of their home for seven weeks before they received a trailer from FEMA. While we were there one of their neighbors came over and told them proudly he had just gotten a trailer to stay in. They live about a 1/4 mile from the shoreline. Some houses on their street were completely destroyed.

The extent of the damage on the Gulf Coast is hard to imagine. I spent some time fishing on the Mississippi coast in June and everywhere I had visited during that trip was destroyed. We fished from Pascagoula to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Ironicly we went to Bay St. Louis to get away from a tropical depression that came ashore while we were there. Everywhere we had gone was destroyed by Katrina including the bridge in Biloxi we fished from and the railroad bridge in the backgound. The shrimp boats and other vessels were waiting to go up into the bay because the railroad bridge has a section that swings around to let larger boats through.

I also took my boat to New Orleans the day after Labor Day to help with the rescue efforts there. I was only able to stay one day but I was able to help. Along with a New Orleans police officer I went out and searched for people who were still traped in their homes by the flood. The extent of the destruction there was also unbelievable. The picture on the left is looking down Canal Street with my truck and boat in the foreground. The picture on the right is the neighborhood where we searched.