Focused on Mississippi: 16 years since Hurricane Katrina

Focused on Mississippi

GULFPORT, Miss. (WJTV) – Sixteen years ago, Hurricane Katrina was threatening the Gulf Coast.

On August 29, 2005, Russel Barrett grabbed his home camera and started shooting when the water started rising in his Biloxi neighborhood. After a while, it seemed it would never stop. Even with the flooding, Barrett was one of the lucky ones. He still had a home to repair. Not everyone was so fortunate, and not everyone got out, even though the warnings said there was another Camille-like storm on the way.

“Unfortunately, that was the cause of several deaths because people say, ‘I made it through Camille. I’m not leaving,'” explained Linda Aiavolasiti, director of the Waveland Ground Zero Hurricane Museum.

The water got up into the attic of a home on the west end of the coast at Pearlington, and the pulverizing storm surge demolished houses over 70 miles to the east at Pascagoula. There were varying degrees of damage and flooding along the coast.

They said at the time it would be ten years before the coast would start to resemble itself again. Well, we are at 16 years, now, and it more than resembles itself. It is reinventing itself. There is new construction still going on. Sadly, there are still empty lots.

The scars from the storm heal over time, but people remember the kindness of strangers, and that’s an indelible mark left by Katrina that hopefully will stay with the people of Mississippi forever.

The Waveland Ground Zero Hurricane Museum is closed due to COVID-19, but they will have an outdoor memorial service on Saturday, August 28 at 10:00 a.m.

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