Remembering the Forgotten Coast

Those of you who’ve been coming to this Web site for years know I experienced the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina personally. My reporter’s instinct kicked in at that time, and, for days, I reported firsthand about the situation. For a long time afterward, I couldn’t escape the urge to commiserate with the victims of hurricanes that came after Katrina and “report” on their plight. Every time a significant hurricane struck, I’d write something about it. Eventually, I ceased to do so, because this isn’t a weather site, and I’m not a weatherman. I decided if all I had to add were “tsk tsk” and second-hand information, I wasn’t adding much. Today, however, I do feel compelled to mention the peril of the Florida Panhandle, an area I’ve known and frequented all my life. Much of it is about to be destroyed, and I am sick at heart about it. I have wonderful memories of specific places, old places, that probably aren’t going to be there when the sun goes down today.

Today's "Arlo & Janis!"

21 responses to “Remembering the Forgotten Coast”

  1. I remember Katrina. “Arlo’s Blankets” hangs framed in my office.

    My family just weathered Florence on the NC coast. Some wonderful old places are gone there, too.

    But change, sadly, is the nature of coasts, and so with them the coastal communities that we hold so dear.

    There’s probably a lesson here, but I doubt I’ll ever embrace it.


  2. Dan McD, change is the nature of life itself. It is a mental and emotional wrench when things you have known all your life disappear, whether it happens over time or in an instant. I moved away from my hometown in Alabama for 14 years and I hardly knew the place when I returned due to the manmade changes. But the next year we had an F4 tornado that took away homes, businesses and several lifetimes worth of greenery in minutes. And all you can do, is pick up the pieces and go on, as the Fleetwood Mac song says.

  3. Like Jimmy, I too have spent significant amounts of time in the area he mentions. And having experienced both Camille and Katrina from all to close vantage points, the only way I can come close to describing the aftermaths of such devastation in one word is “heartbreaking”.

  4. On a lighter note, Arlo must have gotten the idea for what I call the “weather dance” from some of the skimpily-clad young ladies on The Weather Channel as they performed in front of the large weather map. In particular, short skirts seem to get much shorter as a result of some of their gyrations.

    Since I don’t watch TV any longer, I don’t know if they still put on those performances or not.

  5. I relocated to NC just in time for the Hurricane. I’m inland, but all the local TV stations were forecasting 70mph winds and 10 inches of rain. What happened was 30mph gusts and around 1 inch of rain. I’ve had rainier weekends in Oregon. But all the stores were out of bottled water, and many gas stations ran out of gas, the ones that didn’t had lines that went out on the street and down the block.

    It makes a BIG difference how close you are, because they showed (and showed and showed) on the local news all the coastal counties that were under water for a week from the storm.

  6. I have experienced way more hurricanes than I care to, Houston, New Orleans, Lafayette, Gulf Coast. I have many friends in the New Bern , N.C. area where I once planned to live. Same with Port Aransas, Texas. The landfall destroyed an area where have friends but spent much time. Not recognizable from Corpus Christi to Houston and they are NOT recovering.

    Have not turned on tv because I know what it will do to Ghost and me emotionally.

  7. First thing I cooked in ages that was actually good. The split pea soup was good. Encouraged, I put on over flowing soup pot with things from freezer, pantry, refrigerator and dry storage. Kitchen sink soup.

    Could have used Arlo’s missionary pot.

  8. JJ, thank you. I lived in Panama City until 1985 and the little info that I have so far indicates that everything that ever meant anything to me is gone or severely damaged. More tomorrow.

  9. Jimmy,

    I too have Arlo’s Blankets framed in my home office. I am in Marianna, and we never dreamed we would have more than a tropical storm to deal with. Sadly, many in my community are now in need of blankets as the weather cools. My home sustained serious damage, but we are so blessed–we didn’t lose everything. We still have no power, so this is my first visit to A and J since the storm. Thank you, as always, for keeping us laughing!

  10. How would we get quilts or blankets to area? We cannot drive because of my chemo but perhaps we could in three weeks when I finish radiation.

    I have lots extra bedding personally but also many friends. Ghost and I would like to help gather blankets through our customers and get them to coast.

    My the way, Ghost says he has Arlo’s blankets framed over his computer.

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