Marlin Miller and the Katrina Sculptures
Due to the devastating winds and tidal surges of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Coast in August of 2005, many of Biloxi’s stately old live oak trees had their tops broken off. The City hired award-winning chainsaw sculptor Dayton Scoggins to do five sculptures of sea birds and dolphins using the standing dead trees.
Those sculptures inspired another well-known sculptor, from Fort Walton Beach, FL, named Marlin Miller to approach the City with a proposal: He offered his time and talent to sculpt more sea life from the remaining dead trees in the center medians in Biloxi. It seems Miller wanted to return a favor for the assistance his own hometown received from the Biloxi community when Hurricane Ivan struck Florida a couple of years earlier. He refused any payment for his time spent on the sculptures, a fact not lost on the national news media; ESPN, MSNBC, American Idol, and other outlets traveled to Biloxi at one time or another to do a segment on the monumental work. Since he began the sculptures in Biloxi, his work has expanded along the Mississippi Coast westward to Gulfport and Pass Christian. You can see him in action in a video segment made for the the Mississippi Public Broadcasting Corporation program Mississippi Roads hosted by Walt Grayson.
Miller’s work seems to represent the indomitable spirits of Coast residents, who have seen their homes and businesses wrecked before by hurricanes roaring in from off the Coast. Gulls, pelicans, herons, porpoises, and various kinds of graceful fish adorn the tops of stumps left behind from the broken oaks. And quoting from the Biloxi City site: “Today, rarely a day goes by that locals or visitors are not seen admiring or photographing the sculptures. A visitors survey by the Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that the sculptures are one of the top attractions on the Mississippi Coast.”
You can learn more about Marlin Miller and his work at: www.marlinmillergallery.com/