Burners Without Borders – Report from the Field

Biloxi, Mississippi


Things are still pumping down here in Biloxi. After a few slow days with no new shipments of supplies, the store is stocked once again. The slow days were actually a much needed little break for us. Because word got out that we had limited supplies on site, few people showed up to shop. During this time, we were able to go out and see the neighborhood. Several of us were able to clear out some yards. I helped clear out a man named Rudy’s yard. He had an amazing story of being swept away from his trailer when Katrina hit. He ended up in the water with 30 ft waves breaking all around. He washed up 4 miles away from his house. After living on the streets for 5 weeks, a kind person allowed him to set up a tent on their property where their house had been destroyed. He totally broke down on us while he told his tale. I got a little choked up myself. Rudy has nothing left in this world. We have been bringing boxes of goods to him. Truthfully, this has been the saddest story I’ve heard during my time down here (and I’ve heard a lot). I wish I could do more.

Yesterday, we received our first shipment of goods in 2 days. The news traveled like wild fire. I woke up this morning @ 7AM to people waiting outside the gate ready to shop. People were also waiting for a shipment of 45000 lbs of rice to be handed out. The group giving out this rice was also handing out $250 gift cards to the Biloxi police dept. I had no idea what was going on when I saw about 30 officers show up. It was a very bizarre scene.

3 new burners have shown up this week. It’s really nice to see fresh troops arrive. Most of the reliefspark.org members have left, except for my main man, Juan, so new faces were definitely a welcome sight. We have one more burner arriving late this week. Anyone interested in coming to Biloxi needs to be prepared to bust their ass. Hitting the ground running is a must. There is still a lot of work to be done.

Power was restored to the temple this morning. We plan to start installing the insulation and hanging the dry wall today. We also plan to lay down some sod around the temple grounds later this week.

If you want to contribute to our playa effort here in Biloxi, you can still call our volunteer coordinator, Richard @ xxx-xxx-xxxx.


About the author: Tom Price

Tom Price

Tom Price is the former Executive Director of Black Rock Solar. Prior to that he was the Environmental Manager for Burning Man during the Green Man theme, and was in the Gulf Coast for six months during the genesis of Burners Without Borders. He's been attending Burning Man since 1997, and he's proud to say that his decade plus streak of breaking down from sun stroke on the playa on day three remains intact.