|WOW...what a site even 5 years after hurricane Katrina. We spent many days driving around seeing the devastation that is still so visible. Hundreds and hundreds of lots of prime real estate right across the street (Hwy 90) from the water are vacant and for sale. Most homes and businesses have chosen not to rebuild there. We were told that a 20-24 foot wall of water hit that area. Before the hurricane, casinos were not allowed to have their gaming areas on land so were built on barges sitting on the water. Those barges smashed into the buildings across the street. You can see the before and after shots of the area by going to http://coastal.er.usgs.gov/hurricanes/katrina/photo-comparisons/mainmississippi.html. We were so shocked to see such devastation when all we remember hearing about was New Orleans. We drove one day to Waveland which is one of the first towns on the western edge of the Mississippi Gulf Coast that was totally wiped away by the storm. It took out the highway and railroad across Bay St. Louis, while both have been rebuilt, they are now in the process of building a 12 foot staggered sea wall to protect the town. We visited the Hard Rock Casino which was scheduled to open on September 1st, 2005...the hurricane hit on August 29th. They had so much damage, it took them another 2 years to repair and open. In visiting with people that worked there, the main lobby entrance is on the 2nd floor, most places now are parking garages on ground level. That ground floor was 14-16 feet high and they had water 4 feet up onto the 2nd level! Many of the beautiful old oaks that lined the street were broken or damaged and wood carvers have created images on them...a haunting reminder of the damage and mother nature's fury. Many of the downtown businesses in Gulfport and Biloxi are still boarded up. While there is some building going on on Hwy 90, most of it remains vacant. But we sure can't remember any outpouring or whining from the people on the Mississippi gulf coast and while we were in the New Orleans area, there is still much whining! In walking along the beachs, we only saw one place where we saw a glob of oil. There were lots of government workers out walking the beaches with little scoopers but they weren't doing much!