This is my friend Jan's family's house in Pass Christian, Mississippi (near Gulfport). My high-school friends and I have so many good memories of this place ... Mardi Gras holidays in high school, a few days here and there when the weather was nice and we could get away, weekends when several of us were home from college or our professional lives and just wanted to spend some time with old friends. We'd head out to the Pass, air out the house, and just hang out for a few days.

As you can see, the house was not spared by Hurricane Katrina. It had a covered porch (see the steps that led up to it), and I spent so many happy hours lying in one of the two hammocks on that porch, reading books and looking out at the Gulf (the beach was just across the street from the house). I've watched it rain from that porch, and somehow it always felt like such a safe, dry place--such a great vantage point for watching thunderstorms. This time, however, nothing was safe.

The pictures of New Orleans and Slidell have been bad enough, but this picture hits me especially hard. This house was a part of me, as it was a part of all of us who spent any time there.

My deepest condolences to Jan and her family.

Note: This was a summer home, not a permanent residence. Jan and her family are safe and sound--however sad--in Louisiana.


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