By Grey Lee
The Mississippi Chapter provided a big tour out into their gulf coast areas affected by Katrina and other weather events. I joined this tour to see a school, a fire house, a community center and some homes that have been re-built to FEMA 361 standards (seriously heavy-duty) and are helping the communities recover and become more resilient.
We got on the bus at 8am on Saturday to head east. First we took a little tour of the Pearl River to see some of the local fishing communities. And some alligators.
Then into Hancock County, Mississippi to see the new LEED-certified elementary school.
The kids are very happy to be in a LEED building, and learning about sustainability every day.
Their cafeteria was built to be an emergency shelter in the event of a major hurricane or tornado situation. The glass is half an inch thick and the roof can withstand a direct hit from an oil barrel full of concrete.
We went on to see the new firehouse at Bay St. Louis on the coast. This was also built to FEMA 361 standards for rigor in the event of a major storm – wind and/or flooding event. We did not get to try the firepole.
Nowadays, the area has become a major local attraction – there are ducks & geese and plenty of benches to observe. It was a great installation. Notice the cypress trees right there in the water!
It was a great day of touring some wonderful and hopeful places. I hope I can visit again sometime and maybe spend some time on the beautiful Gulf Coast Beaches we saw!