Hurricane Katrina

Lindsey continues to click and tick

GULFPORT - According to Austin Lindsey, retirement is no time to settle down and relax.

"Retirement makes me tick," he says.

Tick is an understatement.

At 75, Lindsey refuses to slow down, especially when it comes to learning and keeping active. Photography especially makes him tick.

"I've always been interested in photography," Lindsey says, "but now I have time on my hands, and I can take it up seriously."

When he returned home to Gulfport in 1995 after a long career in the Navy, Lindsey began photographing a far different Gulf Coast than the one he knew as a young man. And since Katrina, it's unrecognizable.

But chronicling the hurricane has given him added energy and he wouldn't think of relocating. Through his photography, he has become a part of the rebuilding process, and he doesn't care how long it takes.

"I want to stay and experience the recovery," says Lindsey. "I want to be around so it will be part of my life, to go through that process."

Panoramic photos line the walls of his play area, the part of Lindsey's house devoted to displaying his photos and tinkering with his cameras.

Dressed in his maroon sweater, collared shirt and pressed khaki pants, Lindsey is an orderly man and nothing is out of place in his crowded studio. He is witty and has a knack for technology.

Camera equipment fills every corner and a desktop computer with an oversized monitor holds all his images and photo software.

Except for a few wrinkles, his youthfulness shines. His digital camera and tripod are always ready for the next assignment.

In 1998, Lindsey helped open the Gulfport Centennial Museum for the city's 100-year anniversary. The museum features a history of Gulfport and contains some 1,500 photographs he collected.

"The city gave us the old train depot and it was supposed to last a month," Lindsey recalls. "Well, it got a lot of publicity and a lot of people visited, so it's been open since then."

While the majority of his photos are before 1950, Lindsey has been documenting the city since then as kind of study in contrasts.

Since Katrina, the museum needs repairs, but Lindsey intends to continue documenting the coastal changes.