The storm slammed a casino barge into the shimmering steel facades of the unfinished $30 million Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, which was designed by Frank O. Gehry and due to open next year.
"Devastating," said Brian Zamora, project architect for the Gehry firm, who was waiting for photos to reach the Gehry office in California.
The campus of five buildings was designed to withstand 150 mph winds and a 14-foot storm surge.
"All our buildings are still standing and up, minus the one the barge flew into," Zamora said. "The Grand Casino barge is on the front of the site, lodged up against the African American Gallery. It wiped out the trees on the front half of the site. Everything around the site is gone. The neighborhood is gone."
The ceramics of George Ohr (1857-1918), the "mad potter of Biloxi," had been stored safely elsewhere. Marjie Gowdy, executive director of the museum, wrote by e-mail that the entire collection had been moved to the Mobile Museum of Art. She noted that Ohr's studio and shop had been destroyed by fire in 1894, and he had quickly resumed work.
"He is our inspiration," she said.
_from the Washington Post