Monday, July 27, 2009

The Women's Opry!

Seventeen marvelously talented women took to the stage on Saturday night to perform in the third annual Women's Opry.

Dressed in blues and greens...the colors of the sea, these Ocracoke women sang and told stories such as the Deep Water Theatre has ever seen. One song flowed into the other just as the ebb and tide of the sea that surrounds us.

The show was sold out to seats with programs, chocolate kisses and a soft, curvy arrangement of chairs.

All too soon we sing our encore, The Women of Ocracoke; the house lights come on and another Opry is over.

We celebrated at Howard's Pub and finally bid farewell, and traveled over darkened lanes to go home.

Lou Ann

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sharing wine and turtle stories

Last night I attended a mini rehearsal for the women,s Opry which is tomorrow night! We are all excited about this yearly event!

Following the rehearsal, Philip and I watched a beautiful sunrise at Frank and Jude's house. They live cozied up in the woods in a perfect cottage, no air conditioning for them! They also are right on a small stream or canal which feeds out into the sound. Jude brought out her bucket of cat food and tossed several handfuls over the deck railing.The water was immediately swarming with turtles! It is a ritual that she has done every night for 15 years. I was amazed.

We settled back onto the screened in porch with candles, wine and a peach cobbler by Frank. It was a wonderful evening.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Happy Birthday!

HappyBirthday to all my island friends!
I am honored to share my birthday with so many wonderful folks!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Windy afternoon at the beach..

What started out to be a very stormy looking day, turned into a beautiful day of sunshine and much wind. We decided to take a walk on the beach and enjoyed the roar of the sea as opposed to conversation as we could not be heard.
I passed a gentleman holding up the umbrella keeping the blowing sand off of him. There were a few other colorful umbrellas, but the beach was pretty void of folks. Saturdays and Sundays are usually cottage changes, thus the low activity.
Today it raining, however, and a good day to do business!!
Lou Ann

Friday, July 10, 2009


The quiet morning photographs on the Fourth of July.

Slowly the island is healing itself from last Saturday.
Conversations continue.
Memorial donations are gathered.
The sun rises.
I was on my way to photograph the lovely flags of the day, here are a few taken just
moments before the explosion on Ocracoke Island.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Day After the Explosion on Ocracoke

The village continues to mourn the loss of the four that were killed when their fireworks truck exploded yesterday. One by one the death count rose as the night and morning wore on.

Confusion, grief, sadness, and quietness has settled onto this tiny little island of Ocracoke.

Tragedy is always so difficult to deal with in a community, but being isolated by geography makes this event so unusual.

The community is so close that the stories flow like water. Everywhere, everyone, every minute.

I started the morning waiting for the Virginia Pilot to be delivered at the Community Store. They were sold out in 15 minutes. The porch was full of folks with stories to tell, some more gruesome than is humanly possible.

A memorial parade was held at 3 this afternoon to honor our volunteers. They are the real heroes in this epic. The men and women are dedicated to saving and preserving lives, but nothing in their training could have prepared them for this. In reality they are good island folks who volunteer to help their community. They rose so far up over the challenge that they are heroes in our lives....keeping the fires from spreading, caring for the severely injured even though they must have known that death would soon follow.

This evening another wonderful event was held at the Methodist Church. It was a wonderful group of men and women singing and sharing their love of instruments through song and story. I believe there wasn't a dry eye in the place when Martin Garrish sang Iris Dement's song, Our Town.

The week end is past. It is supposed to storm tonight and will good to begin washing away the scent of the disaster and begin healing...tomorrow.

Lou Ann

Saturday, July 04, 2009

First Photos of Ocracoke Explosion and Full Story

It started out as a beautiful July 4th morning. Woke up early, had homemade toasted bread with cherry jam and hot coffee. There were still last minute details to finish on the float, but I could not let the morning pass me by.

I picked up my camera and went off to take photos of flags. There are all over Ocracoke Island, draped over bushes, in flower gardens, hung off old homes. I had biked down to the harbor to photograph a few photos of the boats in the water when the explosion began. The sky was filled with fireworks and I was in such a daze I didn't realize what had happened. I know I stood there stunned for at least a minutes, then it was as if the entire sky was falling with all the fireworks exploding at once. As the sky filled with smoke, the sound of the ambulance was in my ears.

I was able to recover quickly and take the first shots of the explosion. Crowds began to gather with fear in their eyes.

Four flight helicopters came, but took 45 minutes to an hour to reach the Island. They did not land on the landing pad, but rather in the parking lot side by side. The ferries were all shut down and those ready to pull into the harbor for the day's celebrations were sent back for another two and a half hour ride back to the mainland.

We do not know what was the cause of the explosion, but we do know one was killed and four are critically injured. Two local firefighters were taken off Ocracoke Island due to heat and exhaustion.

Of course everything was canceled for the day. A subdued hush has fallen on this small piece of ribbon to the sea. Quietly we all took our photos and our memories home to our cottages.

My day was only beginning as I sent my photos to WINT in North Carolina. Within minutes my phone was ringing to give permission and interviews for CNN and NBC.

It is amazing that the day is still beautiful with just a faint touch of smoke in the air. Firework debris is spread all across the harbor. I leaned down to pick up the end of one.

A moment can change our life forever.

Lou Ann Homan
Ocracoke Island