And they lived happily ever after

Once upon a time in mass of land between New Orleans and Mobile, there was a beautiful kingdom. And in that kingdom were majestic oaks, beautiful homes, tall hotels and floating casinos. Brown water tickled the white sand. Barrier islands stood guard off in the distance, protecting the brown sound fromthe sea beyond. It was a casual land, filled with joy, song, food and family — a paradise in its own Southern way.

The beautiful kingdom had been ravaged by storms over the years. Each time the wind, rain and waves roared in from the sea, the people would rebuild.  Several generations had grown up by the sea. The evil wind Camille had struck the kingdom, but once again, it had rebuilt. Gentle breezes and waves lapped at the shoreline as tall lighthouse stood guard.

All was good.

One hot August day, dark clouds built to the south. The soothsayer Cantore had warned the people they should leave and that their kingdom would never be same. Some heeded his warning. But others, who had survived the evil wind Camille, chose to stay.  It was a decision they’d soon regret.

The evil wind Katrina nearly spanned the width of the Gulf. It’s vast arms spun around a tightly wound eye.  Soon it was a five on the evilness scale and headed directly for the beautiful kingdom on the mass of land.  Katrina didn’t just rake the kingdom with its wind, though. Instead it picked up the sea and dumped in on top of the buildings and people.  Soon the surge covered and destroyed everything within sight of the sea.  Homes were reduced to kindling. Floating casinos were dumped onto where the homes had been. When the sea withdrew, death blanked the coastline for ninety miles.

All that remained standing were a few oaks, tall hotels and one solitary lighthouse. The beautiful kingdom fell quiet as a tomb.

After the citizens buried their dead and removed the debris, they sat down and decided how they would rebuild.  “Taller!” They cried. “Back from the sea!” They demanded. Volunteers volunteered. Codes were strengthened. Businesses slowly returned. Casinos were built upon the land. The scarred land slowly healed.  Casinos reopened and the houses of waffle popped up like mushrooms all along the coast, signaling the kingdom’s rebirth.

Twelves years later, the sky to the south darkened again. The evil wind Nate roared quickly from Mexico toward the beautiful kingdom, hoping to catch it off guard. Although not as powerful as Katrina, Nate knew what Katrina had done to cause the most damage. “I’ll send the waves crashing across the shore,” he cackled as he planned his assault upon the people.  Once again, the soothsayer Cantore, joined by his partner Seidel, warned the citizens to leave.  Orderly evacuations began. As the sky darkened, Nate spun up and prepared to crush the kingdom with his waves.

But something was different this time. The buildings were high above the surge. The ones that were lower were stronger. Nate spat wave after wave at the coastline. Nothing budged. He blew his hurricane-force winds at the homes and the trees. Damage was minimal.  As Nate lost his will and exited stage right into Alabama, he looked back in frustration. The citizens were all ready repairing the damage.  Linemen were restoring electricity. MDOT was cleaning up the debris along the highway of 90.  Casinos, gas stations and grocery stores reopened.  The resilient people of the land in mass once again how strong they really were.

Nate had planned on destroying the beautiful kingdom. But because of the lessons learned from the evil wind Katrina, Nate had failed.

And thanks to planning, they all lived happily ever after.

About Marshall Ramsey