Gulf Shores, Alabama, USA — August 2004


Gulf Shores, Alabama used to be a sleepy sea side town only frequented by people from other parts of Alabama and sometimes from Mississippi or Florida. A quiet alternative to the major resort towns of Florida. My grandfather owns a beach house there and when I was young my family would spend a couple of weeks there every other year. Eating fresh Gulf Shrimp and swimming all week. Over the course of my lifetime the town has become more and more commercial like every town on the gulf coast it has been invaded by the land developers. Most of it’s charm was long ago bulldozed down to make room for high-rise hotels and timeshare resorts. There’s a Super Wal-Mart and all the chain fast food you can eat.

I hadn’t been to Gulf Shores for about six years, which means I had not seen my Grandparents for six years, and before I headed over to Singapore I wanted to see my grandfather again. So the last week in August, the last week before I headed to Singapore I drove down to Gulf Shores. A 22 hour car ride on a Wednesday night. I stayed with my parents for two days and went to Axis Alabama where my grandparents house it to visit them for a day. Then I drove 22 hours back to Washington DC and two days later headed to Singapore for the first time.

Two weeks after I left Hurricane Ivan came ashore at Gulf Shores destroying most everything. I understand that the beach house is still there but that it took extensive damage. I’m not sure if my grandfather will fix it or if it will get sold. He doesn’t use it much anymore. So these places in these pictures have been washed away now. The beaches will recover and he hotels will be rebuilt but for the next few years at least the beaches won’t look like they do in these pictures.