Ocean Springs and Biloxi, Mississippi
After a few weeks in Florida I traveled west to visit a couple people in New Mexico and El Paso but on my way I stopped on recommendation in Ocean Springs, Mississippi and the city of Biloxi. Ocean Springs is a little haven of liberalism in Mississippi and I was surprised to see a vegetarian restaurant, a multitude of funky thrift shops, and hipsters roaming the streets. But I had been directed there to see the centuries-old live oak trees that curl and twist over the main street, framing the quaint buildings rather than the trendy shops. The small town is a place I would never have thought to turn off the main road for, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of strolling under the canopy of gnarled branches. Before crossing the bridge to Biloxi I also walked on the white sand beach, enjoying the views of the bay.
Once in Biloxi I intended to explore the carved trees that were recommended to me, but I immediately got distracted with a lighthouse before circling back to my objective. The sculptures were created by chainsaw artists Marlin Miller and Dayton Scoggins with trees that had been killed by the storm surge from Hurricane Katrina. Located along the waterfront and in the median of Beach Boulevard, the trees were first topped to remove the decaying canopies before being shaped by Scoggins and then Miller, who did the bulk of the sculptures – and for free. I dodged traffic in order to capture some of these works of art but some of the better (in my opinion) examples went unphotographed. Additional works by Miller can be seen in the Biloxi Visitor Center.