5.15.2009

The Buras Lighthouse


For years the little brick lighthouse at the entrance to the Buras boat harbor stood watch over the fishing/shrimping fleet moored there. In my travels I passed it many times, but the only picture I could find in my files of the lil red and white lighthouse is this one I took several years ago one foggy morning. I guess I fell guilty of complacency and kinda took the lil lighthouse for granted. That is, until Katrina. The town of Buras is a lil fishing/oilfield town on the west bank of the Mississippi River south of New Orleans. You probally never heard of it on acounta it wasn't deemed news worthy in comparison with New Orleans, when the Storm hit. The town of Buras was completely wiped out; folks left not just homeless but "townless". The devastation was complete and nothing was left undamaged. When I got down there a couple months after the storm (it took that long to clear the waterways of wreckage to allow River traffic.) I literally cried at the sight of the Buras boat harbor. The harbor looked like a child had emptied a bowlful of toy boats out onto the floor. Boats lay all askew and partially sunk in the shallow waters of the bay. The efforts for the protection of the harbor had been no match for Katrina's fury. There were boats scattered upside-down, on their sides, or in any manner of disarray all along the levee. The majority of boats lay sunken on the bottom of the bay, with either their tops, a few bows, etc. or even bottoms seen partially sticking out of the water. That started my tears flowing, but what made me sob aloud was the sight of what was left of the little Buras lighthouse, which was like seeing an old faithful friend, who had often helped me, and had saved many a life in it's existance. Now there was just a pile of bricks strewn along the point where is had rested for all those years, with no evidence of it's existance but a little red and white showing in the midst of the jumble to tell me that it was the tower. The reason you most likely hadn't heard about the destruction of Buras is because, simply put, most folks are unaware of the many little towns along the Gulf coast that were completely wiped from the land and became like a blank slate. The honest hard-working folks of these li'l fishing villages did what their families have been doing for generations: They picked themselves up, went back home and went to work quietly rebuilding. You didn't see the mayor of Buras 'begging and blaming' on national tv. Today, when ya pass the Buras boat harbor, a new lighthouse keeps watch over a lively fishing community. It is modern and sturdy, and air can pass through it so as to better stand the next "Big One". It lacks some of the charm of the old brick structure and aint got the ole lighthouse's class, but it's a new light for a new harbor of new boats, with new life and dreams, and fears. They are all back up and running, with hardly a sign of the horror that passed. But if ya look close and ya know fishermen, ya can tell that it was bad not too long ago. When I brought these pictures back to show Peggy she was moved by the last one and said it was kinda ironic with the lighthouse sitting next to the shipping containers which are from the "Posidon " shipping line.
Post a Comment