Rebuilding Biloxi

May 20, 2008
By Eleanor Strickland, Valdosta, GA

Nothing could have prepared me for the devastation I encountered. Miles of decimated coastline, dotted by crumbling buildings, were all the eye could see. The upper floors were all that remained of great behemoths which were once thriving casinos. No piece of glass was left unshattered nor home untouched. This heartbreaking scene is the crushed city of Biloxi, Mississippi.
Two years ago, after Katrina raged through the southern coast of our nation, six brave teenagers and I embarked on a mission to help all those we could in Biloxi, Mississippi. Armed with axes, crowbars, and shovels, we worked to help the citizens of Biloxi to restore their homes. The devastation that we confronted in Biloxi was of a magnitude unknown to my generation.
I have always appreciated the delicate balance in which nature and man exist. It is beyond comprehension how life could continue for these people without basic necessities. We, as responsible human beings, should strive to make structures that withstand the forces of nature and preserve mankind. When creating the blueprints of a building, architects should have the foresight and understanding to know that future generations will rely on their creations to preserve their safety.
The resonating images of Biloxi give me the inspiration to find more innovative and dependable methods of construction as a future architect. Many new buildings can withstand extreme conditions, but older buildings are in need of structural renovations in order to insure their survival. With my architecture degree I would devote my career to creating new ways to strengthen outdated building designs while preserving their original character. Katrina should be a wake up call to all architects and engineers that our citizens depend upon our innovations and technological advances to help prevent another "Katrina" from happening again.

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