Focused on Mississippi: How Hurricane Katrina affected Central Mississippi

Focused on Mississippi

RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – I spent a good amount of time on the Gulf Coast 15 years ago after Hurricane Katrina hit the area. We were in Natchez shooting a story the day before Katrina hit Mississippi.

As we were driving past where Highway 84 comes into Highway 61 at Washington, I got my first inkling that Katrina was going to be a little out of the ordinary. There were cars coming north up I-55 and then going west into Louisiana on 84, crossing the Mississippi at Natchez to get away from New Orleans and Katrina.

The next day when Katrina hit, it was out of the ordinary. The storm caused damage in Central Mississippi.

At our house, the wind blew as it had never before, nor since. Our power went off about mid-afternoon and stayed off for only a few days. We were fortunate. Some folks were without electricity for weeks.

In Brandon, the steeple and bell blew off of the Presbyterian Church. They never mounted it back atop the building. It is in its own housing today, just about where it fell.

One of Central Mississippi’s happy landmarks was the Rainbow Barn that you could see from I-55 south of Hazlehurst. After Katrina, they never could get it back right, and the barn is gone now.

Keep in mind, we are anywhere from 125-150 miles inland here in the middle of the state.

We will have more on the 15th anniversary of Katrina off and on the rest of the week, including how it changed the coast. 


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