I reported a while back about a production of Waiting For Godot in the deserted streets of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. It was a particularly powerful political and social statement made through the arts.
Carmen K. Sisson, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, reports on one Katrina devastated town that is using the arts to make another type of statement. Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi was destroyed as badly as any other Gulf Coast town two and a half years ago by Hurricane Katrina. It, however, is experiencing a more successful revival than its Gulf Coast neighbors. This sleepy little fishing town is basing its comeback on the broad support of the arts. It begs the question, "Can the arts save a town?" For Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, the answer appears to be "Yes!"
As reported by Ms. Sisson:
Hurricane Katrina drew the curtains on the theater, as well as on Bay St. Louis, two and a half years ago. But the arts community refused to let the lights dim, and today they're helping revive a town in one of the rare success stories of post-Katrina life on the Gulf Coast.
Across the region, the hurricane's imprint continues to be as somber as an Edvard Munch painting: damaged downtowns, destroyed neighborhoods, FEMA trailers serving – seemingly endlessly – as homes. But here in Bay St. Louis (pop. 8,000), arts mavens and tourists are returning, and homes and businesses are being rebuilt, helping to resurrect the economy and sharpen the community's identity as a cultural hub.
This is a beautiful thing. Read the entire article here.