Stories have consequences. If cities are seen as treasures of civilization, they will be made treasures through cultivation. If cities are seen as degraded, they will be made so through neglect. – Anne Whiston Spirn, The Language of Landscape, p. 49
In your first visit to the bayou, you attempted to created your own readings of this landscape, readings that both generated a number of questions and some attempts to organize the phenomena you observed and experienced.
As your own efforts reveal, though, there are myriad possible readings of any landscape. Critical to the life of the bayou, to its past treatment and its future possibilities, are the many ways it is read by the residents and decisionmakers of East Biloxi.
For your next assignment, you are asked to record the landscape stories of the bayous. Each of you is asked to speak with at least four individuals who have lived or worked in East Biloxi at least since before Hurricane Katrina. You may stay in the area of the bayou you explored, or address East Biloxi more broadly. You may talk to someone in the City of Biloxi’s planning office, the state’s local Department of Marine Resources, or other people who are involved in decisionmaking.
You are encouraged to talk to individuals at length about their perceptions of, experiences with, and stories about the bayous, extending as far back in time as possible. Find out how they think about them, what role they play in people’s lives, and whether or how they have changed over time.
Once you have collected their stories, think about how to best represent them. You will be asked to pin up a product that conveys what you learned and tells the stories you have collected, using whatever media are appropriate, and including images of the individuals with whom you have spoken. Your format should reflect your ideas about this assignment and the role of these stories relative to the bayou landscape.