The sheer volume of debris in Gulfport had made it impossible for the Fire Department to remove many of the bodies immediately. Some were simply logged with GPS coordinates and left behind, to be recovered later. One Gulfport cop told me that they wouldn't really be able to tally the dead until the giant piles of debris on Second and by the railroad tracks were finally plowed up with heavy equipment. Among the many casualties of Katrina was a sea lion from the Marine Life Oceanarium
that was swept onto the street and killed, its brains dashed out onto the pavement. It was a few days before the corpse could be removed. As luck would have it, at the time the storm hit Gulfport, there was a trucking yard filled with trailers containing packages of frozen chicken. The storm ripped the trailers open like soda cans and scattered the chickens far and wide. You could look out over the water and see white spots here and there where they were bobbing in the eerily tranquil surf. The chicken packets festered in the sun, until the decomposing gases caused the plastic packages to swell up and burst open. The flood surge also ripped through houses, soaking the walls, floors, and furniture with sea water and the slimy muck of the ocean bottom.
I guess the point I'm trying to get across here is that I can't fully describe the smell that hung over the place. And trust me, that's just as well.