Following is an excerpt from
Charles Sullivan's diary, recounting his first impressions of
the damage he found on his first visit to Beauvoir following
I loaded up a ton of stuff of all types � medical,
tools, office supplies and took it all to Beauvoir, as they
said in the 19th century.
The sight beggared description. All porches, front and
side and the steps are gone (utilitarian steps have been
built). Chimneys are exposed on both sides. The back porch has
collapsed. Only a little of one overhang is left on the east
side of the front porch. I looked in the room at the end of
the porch and could see a mirror on a dresser.
The wood cistern is gone � not moved � gone. The brick
well house, behind Beauvoir, is rubble. The brick hospital is
rubble. I can see the cannon on its back and one metal wheel
rim is visible next to it. The broken wheel on the other side
is still on the cannon.
Only brick steps and pediments of Hayes cottage and
library cottage remain.
The replica barracks is gone except for brick pediments.
Same is the case with the director's home over east of the
Jefferson Davis Memorial Library. The lower floor of the
presidential library is gutted. The only thing standing in
there is a statue of Jefferson Davis and a 3-by-5-foot
Confederate Battle Flag the statue holds in its hands flutters
in the breeze. One can see through all the way, side to side,
end to end. The upper two floors of the presidential library
are in tact. The steel upright beams in the presidential
library are tangled in wires but stand tall.
Patrick Hotard, director of Beauvoir, told me my 15
boxes of documents have been taken to Jackson, thank God. He
said Mississippi Department of Archives and History took a
load of artifacts back after the storm.
Next to the presidential library is a truck belonging to
Beauvoir. All you can see is part of the cab, so thick are the
trees and timber on it.
Standing in front of Beauvoir, here is the view: The
1917 Memorial Gateway post and lintel structure looks like
Stonehenge. It is shattered. The monoliths are broken into
many pieces. Bits of inscriptions are readable. Oddly, the
metal Mississippi magnolia marker next to the shattered stone
titled "Beauvoir" is still standing. The marker top leans and
moves in the slightest breeze, but it is there.
The huge monolith for the Jefferson Davis Memorial
Highway is on the ground next to the gateway. The whole front
fence is gone, all of it. A hand lettered plywood sheet sign
in front of Beauvoir says, "Katrina 1; Beauvoir 0" and
something to the effect of "but the game is not over."
Looking at Beauvoir from the road, one can turn one's
head to the left and just west of the coliseum is the huge
(and I mean huge) barge of the President Casino. Swivel to the
right, looking east, and the Pirate ship of the Treasure Bay
Casino is on the beach. U.S. 90 is gone.
If the President Casino barge had come in a little
straighter, it would have wiped out the Beauvoir presidential
library, Beauvoir house and the coliseum. (As far as I can
tell, the Grand Casino barge flattened Tullis-Toledano Manor).
. . .
The gardens of Beauvoir look like they have been sprayed
with Roundup. They are salt-water burned. I think all the
great oaks are gone, many of them split down the middle. There
are so many trees down that you can't really see if any are
Well, we don't have the problem we had in Elena, with
thousands of little branches down and creating a fire hazard.
This time the trees are down and the branches are stripped,
The lagoon looks like and smells like Love Canal. There
is a scum on the water and trees and planks and debris of all
kinds are in the water. Just north of the little bridge is a
huge ice container like those outside convenience stores. The
container is askew atop a pile of debris.
The monument to the Unknown Soldier is fine except for a
little erosion around one end. The big monument to the soldier
from Logtown is undamaged. The cemetery is in terrible shape,
but most of the stones are upright or flat where they fell
Camille moved a lot of stones around but Katrina left
them mostly in place. The broken stones I mended with stone
glue long ago are rebroken at the same place. I'll re-mend
them some day.
At the north end of the cemetery, debris came in and
covered the stones. They are standing upright in the detritus.
The arched gateway by the Beauvoir Drive is OK.
Apparently, the flow was from east to west, and it
stopped just short of the railroad here. It did not take the
two caretaker houses or the tin barn. The tractor still works.
Two maintenance workers told me they thought the world
had forgotten them. I told them I came the first moment I
could. I couldn't get gas until the day before. Almost all
their hand tools were gone. They had dug something out of a
mud-filled tool box. I brought hammers, pry bars, sledge
hammers, wrenches, socket sets, axes, house jacks (to jack up
the house), screws, nails, bolts. I buy all this stuff at
estate sales, flea markets, because I like to. I never knew we
would be blown back to the era before power tools � I brought
lots of power tools, too, but can't use them yet � sabre saw,
drill and a big saw I can't recall the name of.
The debris line stopped right in front of the tin barn
and the caretaker houses. Nail-studded timber is piled up 3
feet with TVs and furniture atop it. I gave the maintenance
guys a can of fix-a-flat. If their only vehicle gets a flat,
By the way, no one stayed at Beauvoir through the storm,
as far as I know, but they came in quickly after the storm
We're not reenacting the antebellum world at Beauvoir,
we're living it now.
Charles Sullivan is the Mississippi Gulf Coast
Community College Archivist and the MGCCC Perkinston Campus
Social Studies Department Chairman. He has been a member of
the Sons of Confederate Veterans at Beauvoir since 1981, and
past commander of the camp. He spent two years along others
creating a video documentary titled "Beauvoir Memorial to the