Welcome to Mississippi
Greetings and Salutations,
The entries that follow are a conical of my trip to Mississippi. To call it a trip is a bit of a misnomer as I am really down here studying for the Spring semester. As part of the second year graduate architecture program at the University of Minnesota, I have the opportunity to move to Biloxi, MS to study at the Gulf Coast Community Design Center. Twelve students from the U of MN, Mississippi State, Auburn and the BAC make up the studio.
I arrived in Biloxi on Sunday, January 14th to discover that the place we are living, Hands on Gulf Coast, did not have beds for us. It seems our arrival got lost in the shuffle of paper work. We were provided tents which we were able to pitch just before sundown. We improved our accommodations on Monday by moving our small camping tents into one of several large Army tents on the property, an arrangement we have kept to this day.
On Monday the 15th we attended a Martin Luther King Jr. parade where we met an older woman named Mrs. Johnson. She asked us if we were volunteers and expressed much thanks and gratitude for the assistance the workers had provided for her.
During the week of the 15th classes started and we also spent time working on a renovation of a building for the East Biloxi Coordination and Relief Center, the organization that contains the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio. On one day a few of us learned how to install Sheetrock. The next day two of us who had one days experience lead two teams and completed the instillation of the Sheetrock. During this week we did not have much classroom time, but the time spent working with our hands was well worth it.
The first two weeks here in Biloxi have been great. As the semester goes by I hope to give you a glimpse into my life an work here in Biloxi.
To answer your question, the time I spent in Mississippi was not so much a trip as it was a semester of school offered by the architecture department at the University of Minnesota where I attend as a Masters of Architecture candidate. Thus, for me the cost was a semesters worth of tuition. If you would like to spend some time on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Biloxi volunteering to help rebuild the homes and neighborhoods of the area, you may want to contact Hands On Gulf Coast. For a small fee they provide you with a place to sleep, meals and daily work opportunities. If you plan on spending any amount of time in that part of the world and are inclined to lend a hand, spend a few days at Hands On. Check out their web site for further information and a means of contacting Hands On.