Biloxi, MS --- Residents along the Mississippi Gulf Coast all have their own story to tell when it comes to remembering Hurricane Katrina. Images of water on the rise, total destruction and houses washed away completely from properties come to mind. These memories are emotional for most survivors to recall.
The Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art is currently hosting a six-month examination of the catastrophic destruction, immediate relief, sustained recovery, shared experience and progress on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The Katrina+10 exhibit tells the story of resiliency shown by citizens along the Gulf Coast following the disaster and the experiences from those on the front lines. While the exhibit is there to inspire and uplift, most survivors can’t fully shake the emotion that was involved with Hurricane Katrina’s devastation.
Ohr-O’Keefe Museum Docent Marge Michaud of Biloxi, Miss. recently found hope in the pod designated to the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), which showcases all that was done to reconnect communities along the Gulf Coast, including the rebuilding of the Bay St. Louis Bridge and the Biloxi Bay Bridge. For Michaud, like most survivors, some of the devastating images displayed at the museum brought her great sadness. Each day, she watches over the MDOT pod and sees the complete story, from devastation to the thriving coast today.
“I was living in Slidell at the time and lost everything,” Michaud recalls. “It was very, very hard. But over the years, I’ve learned how to cope with it and put it where it should be. It is a memory now. I can show people the beginning and the end. Now, it’s not sad.”
Michaud lived by a lake in a two story home with an attic and a patio. Not knowing the seriousness of the storm, she did not take much with her when she evacuated.
"It was very hard to come home with nothing left,” she said.
After traveling to her home state of Maine, Michaud eventually ended up back on the Gulf Coast.
"I packed up everything and moved back here, and now, I’m absolutely thrilled to be at the Ohr O’Keefe Museum. I’m thrilled to help showcase all that the DOT did after the storm.”
Michaud is proud to help keep watch on MDOT’s pod and tell the story of rebuilding infrastructures and reconnecting communities along the Gulf Coast.
“People come in here, and together, we cry and hug," she said. "It gets very emotional. I try to tell them that there is a beginning and end to this story to and think maybe it will make them feel better.”
The MDOT exhibit brings Michaud feelings of joy, renewal and celebration.
“It is not sad over here at the DOT exhibit; it shows all that you guys had to contend with,” she said. “It really tells a nice story. The two pictures of the bridges are absolutely fascinating. They’re just beautiful. It really shows how everyone worked together as one. Now we have this wonderful museum.”
Visit the Katrina +10 exhibit at the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of art located at 386 Beach Blvd. in Biloxi. To learn more about MDOT’s story following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina at the Katrina +10 exhibit, download vital hurricane prep resources and find information on the book, Bridging the Road to Renewal: Katrina +10, visit www.GoMDOT.com/hurricanes.
The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is responsible for providing a safe intermodal transportation network that is planned, designed, constructed and maintained in an effective, cost-efficient and environmentally-sensitive manner. MDOT’s objective is to maximize taxpayer’s dollars by providing a safe, efficient multimodal network which enhances economic stability and growth. For more information, visit GoMDOT.com.