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12 Years Later: Katrina exposes worst of nature, best of humanity

Photo courtesy of TeleSouth Communications Inc.

JACKSON, MISS– When the Mississippi Gulf Coast was devastated by Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago, it disproved the theory that Camille prepared coast folks for such a storm. 

But the storm also set one fact in stone: The people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast do not quit. 

When you look back on a storm like Katrina and you remember the 238 lives that were lost, and the $241 billion dollars in damages, it would be easy to assume that the people of the coast would just move somewhere else, rebuild, recover best they can, and always look back on the storm as the moment that changed everything. 

This was not so, and it is proven in how people have recovered and live there today. 

“Not using the ‘K-word’ much anymore just kinda underscores our attitude,” Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes told News Mississippi. “People don’t sit around, they dust themselves off, grab their neighbor and say ‘let’s go, let’s find the good side in this.'”

Finding the good side of a storm that literally altered the shape of the map for the coast seems counterintuitive, but that is just an indicator of the caliber of Mississippi folks. 

“We saw the absolute worst of Mother Nature, and the absolute best of humanity,” Hewes said.

Now this isn’t to say that people don’t reflect on the day that changed their lives. Katrina, like Camille, is a storm that is still observed on the anniversary of its landfall. The sheer force of nature, no doubt, still brings a quiver in the souls of those who stepped outside after the storm to find piles of debris and concrete slabs where their beloved homes, businesses, landmarks, and hotspots once stood. 

But that’s not the only reminder August 29th brings. 

“I think it’s something people will always reflect back on, and they’ll use it as a measuring stick,” Hewes said.

As a community, the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast are resilient, cherish each other as neighbors, and stand together even still 12 years later

“We tend to want to look forward,” said Hewes. “But it is an opportunity to reflect and see, and honestly, be proud of where we as a community have come.” 

It is a day like today–yes, even the 12th anniversary of one of the most devastating moments in Magnolia State history– when you observe the strength, the determination, and the love that thrives on the coast.

You remember the bad times with two feelings: awe and pride.

Awe at how people can recover, and pride to be part of their community. Whether you lived on the coast during the storm, or just learned from their amazing strength; today is a day that all Mississippians should look back and say:


“Look how far we’ve come.”

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