By Natasha Trethewey
Past Katrina is poet Natasha Trethewey’s very own profile of the Mississippi Gulf Coast and of the folk there whose lives have been eternally replaced through storm Katrina. Trethewey spent her early life in Gulfport, the place a lot of her mother’s nuclear family, together with her more youthful brother, nonetheless lives. As she labored to appreciate the devastation that the typhoon, Trethewey came upon idea in Robert Penn Warren’s booklet Segregation: the interior clash within the South, during which he spoke with southerners approximately race within the wake of the Brown choice, shooting an occasion of broad influence from a number of issues of view. Weaving her personal stories with the reports of kin, buddies, and buddies, Trethewey lines the erosion of neighborhood tradition and the emerging monetary dependence on tourism and casinos. She chronicles many years of wetland improvement that exacerbated the destruction and portrays a Gulf Coast whose citizens—particularly African Americans—were at the margins of yank lifestyles good sooner than the typhoon hit. so much poignantly, Trethewey illustrates the destruction of the storm during the tale of her brother’s efforts to get better what he misplaced and his next incarceration. well known for writing concerning the suggestion of domestic, Trethewey’s try and comprehend and rfile the wear to Gulfport began as a sequence of lectures on the collage of Virginia that have been accordingly released as essays within the Virginia Quarterly assessment. For past Katrina, Trethewey has multiplied this paintings right into a narrative that comes with own letters, poems, and images, supplying a relocating meditation at the love she holds for her adolescence domestic.
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Extra info for Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (Sarah Mills Hodge Fund Publication)
His property was right in the middle of it, most of it at the crossroads of old Highway 49 and mlk Boulevard. My grandmother was delighted at last to see him take over the family business. So were people in the neighborhood. Ella Holmes Hinds, city councilwoman for the district, had long been fighting to keep the residential sections of the community intact, not overtaken by the businesses that wanted to acquire the land cheap and transform it into a commercial district. Everywhere there were For Sale signs, signaling that much of the property had already been rezoned for commercial use.
One brother, Roscoe Dixon, worked at a slaughterhouse and brought home meat. The girls took in wash, cooked, and cleaned houses. All of them crabbed in the Gulf and sold their catch to the white people whose homes fronted the coastline. Though segregated, the narrow, natural beach was open to blacks for the purpose of crossing over to the water to set crab traps and to carry their harvest to the back stoops of those big houses. The only part of the beach my grandmother recalls being designated for blacks was across from Beauvoir, the last home of Jefferson Davis— former president of the Confederacy.
If the owners can’t afford to rebuild or repair a badly damaged house, the city demands that it be torn down. “But demolition is expensive,” she tells me. ” She points to an empty lot beside 22 p il g r i m her house. ” All along the coast, evidence of rebuilding marks the wild, devastated landscape. A little more than a year before, much debris still littered the ground: crumbled buildings, great piles of concrete and rebar twisted into strange shapes, bridges lifting a path to nowhere. Now new condominium developments rise above the shoreline, next to the remains of a gas station, its single overhang, the concrete stripped or gouged, revealing the steel frame, like bones, underneath.