Mail from Don Doyle

Don Doyle here in coastal Mississippi. Still looks like a war zone down here. My wife (who is German from years ago) compares the coast line like Germany after being bombed without the smoke. The area close to the shore is gone. Anything under about 30 feet has been either washed away, moved, or flooded. Much of Pass Christian is under 15 feet. There are no stores or businesses left. We are just now starting to see a few businesses opening. The middle and high schools were either destroyed or badly damaged. The students are now in portable classrooms outside of town. The amount of material (homes, trees etc.) removed is tremendous. In our small area imagine a football field the height of the Empire State building and that is what has been removed. And we are about half done. Our house had 12 feet of water in it. Since the water came in slowly but went out quickly, the ceilings all came down and all the insulation with it. Furniture was moved from inside to out on the porch . We lost any furniture that wasn't solid wood, most of our clothing, two cars (both old), all the kitchen cabinets and appliances. So far we have the heat/air back in, electrical taken care of, insulation in and the drywall people coming in Monday. We are in a FEMA trailer behind our house. Fortunately ten years ago we had built a large garage/shop and that survived fairly well (easy to repair). WE have a toilet, shower and sink in there. Travel trailers are not noted for their bathroom sizes. We had enough insurance money to mover most of the damage, but the pictures and mementos destroyed can never be replaced. The salt water brought lots of very fine mud with it. We will be cleaning that out for a long time. In the yard under the leaves, the mud is still wet, even though we are in a drought condition. We have had one inch of rain this year, where we usually would have had eleven inches. It's hard to believe the storm was six months ago. This week there will be nearly 2000 college students taking their spring break down here to help out. The college and church groups that have come down to help has been phenomenal. All real great people. And the outside cities that have adopted areas has been great. They have collected funds to help repair homes, schools and churches. Unbelievable. Gives one real hope for the country knowing there are people out there like that. I have tried to send a picture of the material taken out of our house. It shows about half of what was removed. It does not show all the trees we lost. Our acre was a green canopy before.

Well all for now. Got some furniture to work on. The chairs have muddy socks which will have to be steel wooled and the fabric replaced. At least we have the chairs.