Postcards From The South: The Gulf Coast

Here’s a few shots off of old highway 90. The pics were taken on a section just east of Mobile Bay to Biloxi Mississippi. We rarely have the time or make the time for the journey these days. It’s more about the destination. But the journey can be full of surprises. Once the Interstate system cam along much of Americas personality was missed.

Old radio station and USS Alabama, Mobile, Alabama

There’s a famous bar on the Florida-Alabama line about 30 minutes from where I grew up called the “Flora-Bama”, and I guess the folks on the Alabama-Mississippi line just couldn’t resist. The have their own little honkytonk, the “Miss-A-Bama”.

Many places in the South claim to be the buckle of the bible belt. I don’t know if the Gulf Coast is the buckle, but it sure wears it’s beliefs everywhere you look.

The Vietnam Memorial and Lovelace drug store are both in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. The drug store still has a working and popular soda fountain. Unfortunately the young innocent faces on the wall never made it home alive. They gave their lives in too big a number, robbing families of the most precious ingredient for someone else’s politics. Looking in the bright young faces of men with so much ahead of them was really sad.

For anyone who has spent time on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Biloxi, there must be a sadness in their hearts seeing it now. It was that way for me. Along the Gulf road, Hwy 90,  was once lined with wonderful, beautiful, southern plantations style homes. Most were probably built in the early 1800s. The were really amazing homes and reminders of the old south, with all its grandeur.

When hurricane Katrina ripped thru, she took all of them. Every single one ! I’m sure there will be some big ugly chain hotel there soon. Empty, empty, feeling to know they had made it so long even surviving storms like Camille in 1969.

The casinos were rebuilt quickly and show no signs that a storm ever happened. They say when times get hard people turn not only to their faith but also to their vices. I guess the churches, liquor stores and gambling halls, fare pretty well, as citizens try to wrap their minds around what a new reality looks like.

The Rock Church is in Flomaton, Alabama. My Grandparents attended it on occassion in the 1920’s. It was too far, 4 miles by mule to go every Sunday. They had traveling preachers in that area, so there probably wasn’t services every Sunday anyway. You can bet that place was full of spirit. Just looking at it on that sunny day, reminded me how much the physical house of God has changed over they years. This sure harkened back to a simpler time. It was pastored in part by Lee Rush Golden. Mr. Golden was grandfather to Oak Ridge Boy William Lee Golden. He was great grandfather to Rusty and Chris Golden, who’s band “The Goldens” filmed a music video called “Little Piece Of Land” in  Rock Church in the early 90’s. You can see the inside of the church in the video.

So if you ever have the time, wherever you live, take the old roads. They will connect you with a forgotten part of yourself and remind you also of the wonderful personality of this great land and its people.

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4 thoughts on “Postcards From The South: The Gulf Coast

  1. Great pictures, Glenn. I was stationed in Biloxi from late 2002 through 2003, so I got to see a lot of the pre-Katrina charm you were referring to. I haven’t gotten down there since, but I’m sure I would be sad to see the changes. On a lighter note, Flora-Bama=good times. 😉

    • You shold take a trip down there if you live anywhere close. Thanks for taking time to respond to the blog post. How did you happen to find it?

  2. We drove by that battle ship at Mobile at least 5 times a year when I was growing up and I begged my Dad to stop and let me take a tour everytime. He never did. 😦

    We went down to see the coastline a few months after Katrina and I could not believe the devasation. So sad to see all those old homes demolised, never to be the same again.

    I’m always telling Randy that we need to drive the back way everywhere because interstates are boring and you miss so much. Especially now that I’m photographing everything I see. 🙂

  3. THANKS 4 LETTING ME KNOW ABOUT THIS. IT’S FUNNY…I’VE BEEN INSIDE AND SANG @ BOTH THE “ROCK CHURCH” & YE OLDE “FLORA-BAMA”. THE WORDS “SAINTS & SINNERS” COME 2 MIND (hahahaha). RG

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