From the Director
From the desk of TCCI Executive Director Derrick C. Evans
Back in Boston
August 2, 2007
I am back in Boston until I head back south on August 18 with a
32-foot FEMA Trailer I have secured on e-bay for $5,500. Why? Because
Turkey Creek Community Initiatives and friends are going to outfit
this puppy for an interactive North American tour to let people know
what's really happening in the Gulf as far as Katrina recovery goes.
Things back home are still horrible, and millions of people are
A Housing March on the State Capitol in Jackson (8/21), a Memorial Sunrise Service in Waveland MS (8/29), and a presidential candidates' forum (?) in New Orleans are but 3 events this trailer will drop in on before heading out to raise awareness across the US Stops will include congressmens' homes, churches and schools, and even Jimmy Buffett's scheduled gigs in Foxboro and Madison Square Garden (Buffett and Harrah's will soon break ground on a $1 billion "Margaritaville" casino that will displace low-income disaster victims in Biloxi MS).
Wanna come meet us at the trailer? Can you think of somewhere the trailer needs to stop in for a visit? Let us know.
Governor Barbour's Impudent Confession
May 15, 2007
I can't believe what Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said today... Check it out:
''If we took the convicts in Parchman (state penitentiary) and put them into those FEMA trailers,'' the governor said, ''they'd sue us for cruel and inhuman treatment -- and win.''
I asked our good friend Ben Greenberg (http://hungryblues.net) to put together a graphic for us, so please pass it along and air Mississippi's shame. Read more about the Governor's acknowledgement of human rights violations here or here.
Turkey Creek Achieves Historic Designation
May 9, 2007
We did it.
The fight is far from over, but we've won at least this battle.
Read more here... (WLOX-TV).
Volunteers on Rippy Road Make the Difference
March 2, 2007
We've had a big month down here on Rippy Road, first with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) entering us into the final stages toward acheiving formal historic designation, coupled with the City of Gulfport condemning some the very houses the MDAH sought to protect.
Fortunately, we were graced with a visit from a group of high school age volunteers from Winchester, MA who, with the help of many more experienced hands, were able to bring the buidings up to the minimum standards of code to save those historic structures from demolition. I'd like to thank the Unitarian Universalist church of Winchester, MA for making such a difference.
Krystal Allan of WLOX came out and did a story, too. Read more here...
City of Gulfport Condemns 5 TC Buildings on the Eve of Federal Historic Designation
February 3, 2007
Just days into Black History Month, and scarcely a week since being nominated by Mississippi for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, the proposed Turkey Creek Historic District may soon see five additional structures become lost to history.
On February 5, a Gulfport code enforcement officer tacked Orders to Demolish, or “red cards,” on 5 neighborhood buildings, each deemed National Register eligible or “contributing” by architectural historians and structural engineers evaluating the community's building stock in the months following Hurricane Katrina.
Drawn by the neighborhood's rich but eroding wealth of American, Mississippi and Gulf Coast heritage, teams from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, MS Department of Archives and History – even FEMA - have walked and re-walked the neighborhood with community leaders to assess the area's suitability for federal recognition and protection.
Some of our state and nation's most notable preservation figures have also toured and supported the beleaguered little community, including former governor William Winter and US Rep. Mike Turner, outgoing Chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees federal funding for historic preservation. None other than National Trust president Dick Moe was on hand to present the Turkey Creek Homeowners' Association a desperately needed donation for stabilizing historic, hurricane-damaged structures in late 2005.
The community's dawning hopes rose even further in late 2006 , when MDAH received $40 million from Congress for historic preservation in Mississippi's three coastal counties. As Moe, others and myself had requested during congressional testimony over a year earlier, Heritage Recovery grants were finally available for repairing storm-ravaged historic homes in Turkey Creek and elsewhere, esp. where tax-credits don't mean jack..
One of Mississippi's most battered cultural and environmental treasures since well before Katrina, the community was all smiles when Mississippi finally and formally nominated it last week for National Register listing as a complete historic district. Actual determination by the US Department of the Interior is expected within 45 days, or by mid March. Homeowner applications for the above mentioned MDAH grants for repairing National Register or National Register-eligible buildings will accepted until April 1.
As the current owner, I have been given by Gulfport until March 15 to demolish` 9439 Creosote Road – originally an office building for the Phoenix Naval Stores or Yaryan turpentine plant that exploded in 1941, killing eleven industrial workers from Turkey Creek and nearby communities. Today, it is the last remaining vestige of the proposed historic District's connection to South Mississippi's fabled forest industries – unless, of course, you count the toxic and failing creosote clean-up occurring across the road.
We'll keep you updated as the month progresses.
MLK Day Community Clean Up
January 9, 2007
TCCI and its community partners are trying to get MLK Blvd and the rest of North Gulfport EXTREMELY clean in time for Dr. King's Birthday on Jan 15, as well as for the Jan 27 ribbon-cutting of Turkey Creek-North Gulfport's very first Unity (green modular) Home on the corner of MLK and Ohio Avenue.
Over 80 volunteers headed out at 8 Monday and Tuesday morning with District 4 Supervisor William Martin's Harrison County boom trucks and road crews right behind them. The volunteers are from Boston College, U Maryland, Johns Hopkins, Hands On USA, Americorps, and Youth Conservation Corps. Many very appreciative community members have been happily pitching in to do their part. When City of Gulfport "Beautification workers" suddenly appeared at mid-morning on Monday to try their best to keep up, we knew we had gotten something big rolling.
In just two days, we thoroughly cleaned over 75% of the streets and ditches on the west side of Highway 49 in North Gulfport, or approximately 2 square miles. In unprecedented volume, old tires, unaddressed storm debris, and general roadside litter were neatly set alongside the streets to be picked up by county and city knuckle booms, and to be raked and bagged again if necessary. This level of intense cleaning will continue Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8am to 4pm, with targeted areas to include Forest Heights, Rippy Road, Villa del Rey and any other areas of the lower TC Watershed that our time and manpower will allow.
Forty of the volunteers are guests of TCCI's volunteer camp at Harrison County's Hannah Knox and Amos Crouch ballfields (just west of the North Gulfport Middle Schoool). A post-clean-up Fish Fry and Community Celebration will occur on Friday the 12th from 6pm until, and don't forget the Unity Home ribbon-cutting ceremony on Jan 27 - hosted by the North Gulfport Community Land Trust. Please join us.