Biloxi's Katrina sculptures to get a new life - - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi's Katrina sculptures to get a new life

Photo Source: WLOX News Photo Source: WLOX News
Photo Source: WLOX News Photo Source: WLOX News
Photo Source: WLOX News Photo Source: WLOX News

We're continuing to remember the ten-year anniversary of an event that rocked the entire Gulf Coast Coast.

There are many memories that come from Hurricane Katrina's devastating storm, but for many those memories are followed by comfort.

“This is something that came right after Katrina and it's all about the rebirth of the Gulf Coast,” Ohr O'Keefe's Executive Director Kevin O'Brien said.

After nearly 10 years, the wooden sculptures that stand along Highway 90 are getting a needed touch up. 

“It's just because it's dead wood,” O'Brien said. “And what we're doing today, is we're digging around the roots and we're applying tar and concrete which will stop insect infestation and things like that so they last a long time.”

As part of the Ohr O'Keefe Museum's Katrina +10 exhibit, the Fort Walton Beach, Florida sculptor Marlin Miller made a trip back to South Mississippi for five days to freshen up what he created years ago.

“With the exception of a few vacant lots, really the only thing that remains are these sculptures on the highway to kind of remind people of the storm. But the good thing for me, it not only represents the volunteers and the people that came down to give a helping hand but also symbolically to me represents the revolving resilience of people on the coast,” Marlin said.

Marlin's son Preston is even helping while he's home from college for the summer.

“Well it's nice. Growing up this was my childhood, coming to Biloxi and doing these sculptures so you know it's a big part of my life,” Preston said with a smile.

After the makeovers are complete, the hope is to have coast residents change the way they think when it comes to remembering Hurricane Katrina and how far all coastal cities have come.

“I think many people that lost everything, they look at life differently. They think not everything is permanent, you should enjoy what you have in front of you, enjoy the people that you have here and really make the most of the present. We're making the most of the present by having these sculptures repaired and restored, and they're going to be around for a long time,” O'Brien said.

After next Wednesday, the city will come by each sculpture to polish them with shellac so they stay shine and pop along the highway even more.

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