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A Family of Artists Picks Up the Pieces

Mary Anderson Pickard is one of four children of the artist Walter Anderson.
Tracy Wahl, NPR
Mary Anderson Pickard is one of four children of the artist Walter Anderson.

Since the 1920s, a family of artists have made their home at Shearwater, a complex overlooking Mississippi's Biloxi Bay. Perhaps most famous is the late Walter Inglis Anderson, known for vibrant watercolors of Gulf Coast landscapes. His two brothers were potters, and a fourth generation of the family carries on the Shearwater pottery tradition.

Hurricane Katrina swept through Shearwater, taking out nine family homes and six other buildings, and severely damaging a pottery workshop that had been in operation since 1928.

Mary Anderson Pickard, one of Walter Anderson's four children, was among those who lost a Shearwater home. Since then, she and her family members have dug though broken shards of decorative pottery, hoping to salvage what they can.

Some of Walter Anderson's work is housed at a museum in Ocean Springs, Miss., that survived the storm. But the family's treasured private collection... full of writings, paintings and linoleum blocks... was kept at Shearwater in a special vault. And it didn't fare as well.

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NPR National Correspondent Debbie Elliott can be heard telling stories from her native South. She covers the latest news and politics, and is attuned to the region's rich culture and history.