August 29, 2005 saw this
as Hurricane Katrina made landfall over Pass Christian, MS as a Category 4 (some say 3) storm leaving a path of destruction stretching across the entire MS Gulf Coast (not to mention LA and AL). For me, this storm was as personal as it could get. You see, in the first picture, the house on the far right is/was ours. It wasn’t a vacation house- it was home. It was built in the 1920’s and had withstood many storms not the least of which was Hurricane Camille. Turns out Camille was a thunderstorm compared to Katrina.
Finding pieces of your life and home scattered across many blocks (and even in the Gulf) is a surreal experience. To say I was in shock those first few days would be an understatement. I grew up with hurricanes (NOLA and MS Gulf Coast), but there hadn’t ever been anything like Katrina. We were woefully unprepared and took far too few of the personal items we still miss (wedding video, signed engagement picture, honeymoon pictures). But I don’t want to focus on the negatives, because in MS, there were FAR more positives.
Community. Togetherness. Selflessness. Hope.
Katrina hit on a Monday, by Wednesday morning, the volunteers, relief workers and military (there are 3 bases on the MS Coast) were flooding the area with assistance. We established a relief/aid center at our church and the donations literally poured in.
The next several months were hard. Emotionally, physically and mentally. We had to show ID to an armed guard to get access to our “lot” after the first day- not something I ever dreamed I would have to do. You may think I’d like to turn back the clock and avoid losing everything to a hurricane, but you’d be wrong. I GAINED so much more than I lost. I’ve never felt more loved and cared for than in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina- and it wasn’t just by my friends and family. The outpouring of volunteers from all over the country still amazes me to this day. It reminds me what amazing things can be accomplished when people come together for a common good/goal.
I lost everything materially to Hurricane Katrina, but I gained everything that truly matters. Infinitely blessed- forever thankful.