Friday, November 14, 2008

Here's the map dot that I'm from.... Orange Beach, Alabama!

I lived on the Bay that is on the bottom left corner of the Island.

This was the view only a 1/2 a mile from my house.

Where we swam in these in high school...... Even if we didn't know anyone who lived at that condo or hotel..... lol :)

Doing this was a way of life......

And to do some real fishing you had to have a real boat... this is a picture of a local deep sea fishing boat... my grandfather and step dads boat was a few feet smaller than this one. They have since gotten rid of it but my step dad bought another one that he is in the process of completely upgrading! I will be so excited to do some more deep sea fishing!

You looked forward to this event every year.... and you always stood in line for a Cajun pistol (it was a BIG roll that was filled with a cream sauce and seafood)!

Food vendors and people from all over came to set up their inventory! Handmade crafts, jewelry, clothes, live entertainment and all kinds of stuff filled the city beach parking lot for a weekend of food, fun, and shopping.

The boat races started a few years ago and attracted lots of fans about once a year.

Hurricane IVAN came through my senior year of high school and left us with this....

which was a 1/4 of a mile from my house (which was flooded b/c we lived on the water). We had a marina down our road and we ended up with 1/2 of their piers, trees, a small boat, swimwear shoes and souvenirs from a local Surf Style (across the bay), along with personal items that came from peoples homes. We stayed in Foley Alabama a few miles up the road from Gulf Shores and when the eye of the storm passed over the building we were staying in we had just enough time to step outside and see the stars and check on our vehicles before the rest of the storm plowed through. When it was all said and done it was a few days before we were allowed back to our house because the roads were flooded (or washed away) trees, power lines, boats and debris blocked the roads, and the city was doing an assessment of the damage. Once our zone (you have a sticker on your car to tell them what zone you live in on the island) could come back in it was sickening to see. When we go to our house it was heartbreaking! My room was on the bottom floor of the house which was flooded! We only had several inches of water (which is just enough to ruin sheet rock furniture, carpet, stuff in you closet, etc) but it was better than our neighbors that had several feet of water! The water and debris stunk so bad we had to open all the windows and doors and rip everything out. At night we ate MRE's (military food) and went to bed to the sound of generators in our neighborhood b/c you had to leave all your windows open. It was a while before we had electricity and phones but things like cable didn't come for months (unless you had satellite cable which we switched over to). Some people at school were without a home for months and had to live with friends and family. It took about two years for the city to really recover and this past summer was the first completely normal summer the island had seen since Ivan. My parents moved not long later. They moved off the island on the other side of the bay.

Usually the BIG gators were in the middle of the island on the state reservation land (the land was a little swampy) and sometimes you would find little ones in the back yard usually in the canal that we lived on. But this one (along with others) escaped from the zoo during the hurricane. He was found by a police man that was driving a little boat up Hwy 59.... and yes I said driving a boat up the road. Remember the roads and yards were flooded for several days.

The water line is actually almost a mile up the road from where the beach is.

This is all you saw down the beach front for about 6 months and then one by one they started tearing them down.

This was at the entrance of the road I live on and I'm pretty sure it was one of the boats my step dad and his crew helped recover. If you look to the right of that car you will see that their is still water on the road a few days later. That is a four lane rd and we had to take turns using one lane for about a week to a week and a half. And even about 10 months after the hurricane when it would rain roads and yards would flood b/c the storm drains were still stoped up with debris.

We saw these for days and military blocked of roads and entrances so only those that had a zone sticker could enter their road. This way people were not driving all over the city and this kept down the looting. Also, it kept people from going back to their house if it had not been cleared by the city.

This was only about a 1/2 a mile from my house.
This was a road between Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. It was the road I drove on at least once a day. You can see the tops of building covered by the water. This was the day after the hurricane and those are two story motel unity on the state park beach.

This was a storm that will always be remembered.


Jenny said...

This is such a great post that really shows your love for your hometown.

Me said...

wow, not only did I learn alot but I found myself silently saying prayers for those affected. What a mess. The pics were great, the post intriguing, and it was neat to learn so much more about you!

Tony and Susan said...

wow! that's incredible! thanks for sharing the story and pics! i'm so glad we got to see each other and chat for a little bit!