Paradise lost

  • Aperture: f/6.3
  • Focal Length: 17mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter: 1/640 sec
  • Camera: NIKON D1H

Dauphin Island, Alabama

Dauphin Island took a heavy hit during Hurricane Katrina. In some spots, entire sections of houses are gone, leaving empty stretches of sand as far as the eye can see. Most of the houses that remain are in tatters. Some can be repaired. Most will be demolished.

It was an odd feeling to stand amid such destruction, a tiny speck of life in a barren landscape of death. The silence was deafening, punctuated only by crashing waves and the eerie squeak of tin rocking back and forth as it dangled precariously from rooftops. From time to time there was a flutter reminiscent of gulls’ wings, but there were no gulls on the beach. It was only the sound of plastic sheeting torn loose from the walls, flapping wildly in the breeze.

The structures themselves reminded me a bit of the doll houses I had when I was a child — little slivers of domesticity sliced in half to expose the kitchens and living rooms of strangers. There was a teal bedroom here and a sunny yellow foyer there, and everywhere clothes. Shirts and shoes and even a hat, still hanging from its hook.

For many, Dauphin Island was a forgotten jewel — an island paradise devoid of the commercialism and crowds of nearby Gulf Shores. Now it is just a technicolor wasteland. It made me sad, and though I have always loved the island, this time I was glad to leave.

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