One Final Update
The semester is over; I'm back in Minneapolis. I realize that I have not written in over a month as the last month of classes in Biloxi was a bit more busy, as they tend to be, than the previous few. Much happened in the month, more than I can convey in a short writing, but I will give you a highlights tour of the month.
For our classes, our projects continued. The reconstruction project made much headway, with spits and starts at times. By the time we left we had passed all of the needed inspections to continue and had begun on the finished of the house, starting with the drywall. We are, sadly, leaving the completion of the house to others as a necessity as the group had to depart to the four winds for the summer. Our studio project also went well and we were able to present a more or less comprehensive plan for a commercial and residential building for a main street in the neighborhood we were working in.
In April we took a trip to visit the work of the Rural Studio in and around Greensboro, Alabama. The Rural Studio is a part of the architecture program at Auburn University that works in rural Alabama building great buildings with often found materials, earlier on, and as of late using more innovative and higher tech building methods. The Studio has produced many interesting and great works of architecture. Though the work is inspiring, the situation that these buildings were made is is much different than that of Biloxi where funding, more stringent building codes and the possibility of hurricanes and flooding force a different approach to design. While we were in Greensboro we spent some time at a print shop where we learned the process of making a poster on a printing press and produced a great poster for the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio.
Another highlight, other than all the work, was a final trip to New Orleans. On the first Sunday in May I ventured to the Big Easy with a group of friends and atended the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. The day was sunny and hot, with a high near 90 degrees Ferinheight and the crowds were huge. We arrived mid-afternoon as on the way to New Orleans we stopped St. Rose de Lima, a Catholic church in Bay St. Louis with a gospel choir that would make most Baptist churches proud. If you are ever on the Mississippi Gulf Coast on a Sunday morning, you must make your way here. We then spend the afternoon and into the early evening listening to a nearly overwhelming amount of Jazz and Gospel. We capped the day with a dinner of pizza from a restaurant in the Garden District before driving back to Biloxi.
The semester in Biloxi was great in both the meanings of the word. I am still not able to comprehend everything that we worked on and accomplished. I am far from understanding all of the lessons I will take from the time I spend in the south studying. There were moments when things were infuriating and frustrating to no end, yet there were many equally joyful and pleasant times in both work and play. I am grateful for my fellow students who have become my friends. I am also thankful for all the people who were not a part of the Studio who gave us lessons, time and friendship. I appreciate the help and support we received from so many people.
I see that I am waxing poetic, so I'll cut myself off. It has been a pleasure.