Colonization and the Nature of Impermanence: Notes on Mexico Beach
On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael moved out of the Gulf of Mexico and crossed onto land through the resort community of Mexico Beach, Florida. With sudden violence, large parts of the town were washed and blown away by a 14 foot water surge and winds peaking at 160 miles per hour. An estimated 85 percent of houses, businesses and the rental properties servicing vacationers were destroyed or heavily damaged.
These photographs were taken five months later, when the town had fallen into a new, if unwelcome, state of normalcy. Local and state disaster funds had been exhausted. Federal relief funds for the region, as well as other states and Puerto Rico that had experienced their own disasters, were stalled by political fighting between Congress and the President of the United States. The physical landscape of the town had slowed into a near-static mix of the rare survivors, the repaired and replaced and, overwhelmingly, the damaged, destroyed and disappeared. Piles of debris, broken buildings and exposed foundations had been left to sit in the Florida sun.
(On June 3, 2019, nearly 8 months after Hurricane Michael struck, Congress agreed to fund disaster relief for the victims.)