Mississippi Sound Should Be Debris-Free By Christmas - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mississippi Sound Should Be Debris-Free By Christmas

When the sun first sparkled on the Mississippi Sound, Don Beauchene remembered it being cold. "It was about 34 degrees. The wind chill was in the 20s," he said.

Yet on a beachfront shut down by Hurricane Katrina, people like Beauchene ignored beach closed warning signs, and went fishing. What they caught wasn't going to feed the family. The clean up teams reeled in hurricane debris. "A bunch of trash," was how Brian Willis described the junk he hauled from the water to the shoreline. "A lot of tin, chairs, you name it, anything that would come out of a house."

That debris belonged to Gulfport families and nearby business owners, before Katrina swallowed it up and buried it underwater. Because this was the second sweep of the area closest to the sand beach, debris piles weren't very large. "I expected to find a lot more than we're actually finding," Beauchene said.

Low tide actually changed Monday's mission. The clean up crews were supposed to be out in the Mississippi Sound, picking up debris on boats. But when their vessels began scraping the bottom of the sound, they anchored the boats, donned their waterproof boots, and waded out into the chilly, knee high waters along south Mississippi's shoreline.

Thomas Smith coordinated the clean up efforts. He's with the U.S. Coast Guard. "The tide is out a lot further than it has been in a long time. This is the lowest I've seen the tide since the beginning of the mission, which started in August," he said. Four months later, Smith said the end of the mission was on the horizon. "We're expecting around the 20th or so of December, give or take a day or so depending on weather, to be complete with the project," he explained.

A few more days with the wind blowing from the north will keep the coastline cold. But it will also uncover hidden hurricane gems buried beneath the sound, "anything that's sticking out," said Beauchene. 

By Brad Kessie

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