On the Waterfront

Sometimes, beauty can be found in the unlikeliest of places.

The storm-ravaged Mississippi Gulf Coast is recovering from the devastation inflicted upon her by Katrina last August, but the process is moving at a seemingly glacial pace. Trees still lie where they fell, uprooted by wind and water. Shells of buildings stand, yet to meet their fate by the Corps of Engineers' bulldozers, and trailers dot the landscape where antebellum homes once proudly stood. Memphian Nell Dickerson volunteered for the National Trust for Historic Preservation to assess damaged structures on the rosters of the National Register of Historic Places, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the Mississippi Heritage Trust, with her camera in tow. She sought not only to preserve what could be saved, but also to capture a moment in time when the fate of Mississippi's historic structures hung in the balance. Will they be preserved? Can they be? Only time will tell. But Dickerson has captured the devastation with the eye of a true artist, in the hopes that these striking, hauntingly beautiful images can help somehow in the rebuilding process.

All images were taken November through December, 2005.