JACKSON, MISS– This week, News Mississippi will be sharing your stories of struggle, survival, and recovery that came from your experience during Hurricane Katrina.
Robert “Bones” Barq, like many, reflects on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, saying he stayed in his Biloxi Bay home during the storm because he remembered Camille, and thought that he could handle it. But the next day, when the waters were cleared and the damage was seen in the sunlight, Barq says Biloxi was reduced to a nightmarish scene from a war movie:
“People were just walking around, in shock,” says Barq, “Bodies, in the street, people turning them over trying to identify them.”
Rebecca Powers was an anchor for WLOX television news, stationed in Biloxi at the time the storm hit. Powers and her husband went home as the storm was making landfall to grab a few things to prepare to stay at the station. As the storm rolled in, a tree fell, and the Powers’ were trapped in their home:
“I remember calling my Executive Producer and telling her my house is coming apart, to send help,” says Powers, “I could hear the panic in her voice when she says they’re on lockdown they won’t be coming for you.”
Charlie and Sherrill Johnson had decided to leave their home during the storm to stay with Sherrill’s mother. When they came home, the amount of destruction in their city of Waveland was overwhelming:
“There were piles and piles of debris,” says Sherrill, “He (Charlie) left his Jeep, his only car, and it was on a pile about 26 feet high.”
Gulfport Mayor Billy Hewes was a Senator and insurance agent when Katrina hit. He says that he thought they were prepared since they were able to recover from Hurricane Camille:
“We thought nothing could we worse that Camille, and that’s the level we were prepared for,” says Hewes, “we were wholly unprepared.”
News Mississippi will continue sharing these stories this week. Share your story using the Talkback feature on the News Mississippi app.