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  • Writer's pictureadrianne

Falling In Love

Updated: Dec 24, 2020

I love Mexico Beach, it's true. It's beautiful, quiet, and serene. The weather in November is perfect, and there's a stunning sunset nearly every evening. What's not to love? I could live here, I think. It's so easy to disconnect and relax.

I wouldn't say it's just the beauty of Mexico Beach that I love; it has just as much to do with her people and the spirit that lives here.. I fell in love with this place from my very first visit, and let me tell you, her beauty was just a little bit hidden then. I came here for the first time in January of 2019, just a few short weeks after Hurricane Michael came ashore right here. I'd never even heard of Mexico Beach before then, but I was sent here on a job to document with photos a specific relief effort that was being done. I learned beforehand that it was a small fishing town and had no chain restaurants, grocery stores, or department stores. Every business was small & locally owned.

I don't know what I expected to find, but nothing nothing nothing I'd seen on the news or in photos did justice to the absolute devastation around me. I understand this, because no photo I took does justice. And remember, this was two or three months AFTER the hurricane; some cleanup had taken place. I can't begin to imagine what it must have been like in the immediate days following.

It was impossible for me, as a first-time visitor, to get any kind of sense of the layout of the town because everything was lying in ruins. I drove through gobsmacked at what I was seeing. Horrified, disbelieving, I couldn't wrap my brain around it.

This selection of images is a tiny tiny sliver of the whole....a peek, if you will. From one end of town to the other, it was the same--destruction, devastation, ruin.

Note the red X's. Searched & cleared.

As I write this, more than two years after the storm, the first restaurant to offer indoor dining is close to reopening. Everything has been served from food trucks til now.

This scene stuck with me, burned in my mind. Somebody came back to town after the hurricane and found their home underwater. No hope of salvaging anything.

A closer look...

This once was a bank. It has just reopened in a new building in the last few weeks.

This was a neighborhood. I gasped out loud when I realized I was looking at a neighborhood that, save for those two homes in the distance, had been washed away.

My work assignment took me here.....The Tent, a donation collection & distribution site located at the junction of Hwy 98 and Hwy 386, and it was here that my love affair with Mexico Beach began. It was here that I met the locals who volunteered their time & energy daily help their neighbors. Special, special people. It was here I saw strength and resilience and determination to rebuild.

Before I left that first time, I knew I'd return. There's just something magical here. There was beauty here, even then; you just had to look at the people instead of the surroundings.

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Nov 26, 2020

I never made it to Mexico Beach. My work took me to the neighboring town of Panama City and the destruction there. Mexico Beach was a no-go for me because there just wasn't anything mechanical left, and there was never a doubt that everything was destroyed and needed to be replaced. While the damage in Panama City was severe it was only 75% of what the people of Mexico Beach had to go through, and survive. These areas are still rebuilding, they still have not received all the assistance they need; but they are coming together, trudging forward, and rebuilding their lives as a community. I drove through Panama City about 3 weeks ago and can still see areas o…


Nov 26, 2020

Wow. What a wonderful way to help us feel something like what you felt. That’s amazing to have that kind if a feeling about a place. You said a spirit lives there. That is a very special feeling and that is what I am looking for in a place.

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