As our waitress was clearing dishes off our table at the end of dinner at the Biloxi Schooner in the downtown area tonight, she started telling us her story. Her name is Shalom and she has lived in Biloxi for about six years -- right through Hurricane Katrina. Next month, she is moving to San Antonio. She simply sees no more future in this city.
She said her house was destroyed in the hurricane. Now rents are so high she cannot afford to live here. It's hard to find a gas station, her kids are not getting the kind of education she wants them to have. Many former residents have never come back, she said. Others have already left. She talked about her sadness at leaving, said she wants to come back to visit, but said she cannot stay living here now.
She asked whether we were visitors or volunteers. "Volunteers," we said. She thanked us for taking the time to come down to her city and wished us well. We wished her well, too. She was off to the kitchen and we were off to our trailer.