To Get Away From Katrina, You Get Out of Town

Allison and John Anderson's house in Bay St. Louis, Miss. i

Allison and John Anderson's house in Bay St. Louis, Miss. Built to hurricane code standards, the house stood through Hurricane Katrina while the one next door was crushed and carried away in the storm surge. Noah Adams, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Noah Adams, NPR
Allison and John Anderson's house in Bay St. Louis, Miss.

Allison and John Anderson's house in Bay St. Louis, Miss. Built to hurricane code standards, the house stood through Hurricane Katrina while the one next door was crushed and carried away in the storm surge.

Noah Adams, NPR

A dispatch from Noah Adams, blogging from the Gulf Coast:

"Will you shut up about that storm?" I actually haven't heard people say that, but surely they do. And this morning in the Sun Herald, the South Mississippi newspaper, there's this note from a reader in the "Sound Off" column: "I'd like to suggest that we take at least one day where Katrina isn't even mentioned."

And coming here on a regular basis this past year, I've noticed that sentiment. What's it like to wake up every day and have Katrina on the front page of your paper?

The Sun Herald leads today with: "Checks not yet in the mail." (about delays in Katrina homeowner grants). And the Times-Picayune from New Orleans is almost yelling. Three stories above the fold: "Study: People standing tall after Katrina." "N.O. planning process puts residents on edge." And "Firms struggle to find insurers." There's also a story about mandatory rules for Jefferson Parish.

Last night I was pleased to be with some friends at a potluck dinner — good food and talk, catching up. And I noticed the conversation kept circling back to Katrina, which is why I'm on the Gulf Coast this week, but again, what's it like to be talking about it every day? Someone said, "To get away from it you have to get out of town, take a break."

I wanted to hear more about the house we were in. Allison and John Anderson are architects who completed their new home in Bay St. Louis not long before the storm. It was built to hurricane code standards, and the first floor, where the kitchen is, was intended to be a wash-through space. That's just what happened and their house stood while their neighbor's was crushed and carried away in the storm surge. Allison said last night, "We now have a clear view of sunrise over the beach, looking out over rubble.

I first met Allison on the beach at Waveland back early in November, when producer Amy Walters and I arrived here by boat, working on a piece for All Things Considered. We went on that day across the Mississippi Sound and entered New Orleans by way of the Industrial Canal. I'm going to New Orleans this morning the regular way: Interstate 10.

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