Helping Victims of Hurricane Katrina (2005)

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.

                                                        — The Gospel of Luke (NIV), 12:48

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina came ashore near the Mississippi-Louisiana border. Though it was only a Category 3 hurricane, as compared to Camille (1969), which was a Category 5, Katrina proved to be far deadlier because of its record storm surge, which was 25-28 feet. Though NOAA lists the storm surge from Camille at 24 feet, it was clear to those along the Mississippi Coast that damage from Katrina's surge far exceeded that from Camille. (As our host, Mitch Roberts recalled, Camille generated terrifying wind speeds, far beyond those of Katrina. In both cases, he and his family had taken refuge north of I-10. In the case of Katrina, the water rose high enough to cross I-10 thus making the locals quite nervous.)

For three days at the end of October 2005—approximately eight weeks after Katrina had hit—my wife, Sam, and my daughter, Meghan, and I traveled to Gulfport, Mississippi to help with relief efforts. We stayed at the home of Mitch and Tanya Roberts, and their two sons.

Here are some photos from our time helping with the relief effort.

This was one of several gambling casino barges that were lifted up by the storm surge and floated over land, destroying everything in its path.

Flattened house in Waveland, MS. The owners expressed their feelings in writing on their shingles.

That’s me with the chainsaw, cutting up a downed fence.

The US90 bridge across Biloxi Bay was very badly damaged, as you can see in the photo above.

One of the stranger sites we saw was a small building leaning against a utility pole.

The home of our hosts in Gulfport was relatively undamaged--for no apparent reason.

A common site along US90 was concrete slabs--where houses once sat--with one or two plumbing fixtures still in place, such as these toilets.

For many buildings along the shoreline, lower floors were completely wiped out while some semblance of walls and windows remained on upper floors--where the storm surge failed to reach.

Katrina threw this automobile around and left it lying upside down, destroyed. Perhaps the tires might still be useful.

Yet another strange pattern was external stairways, typical of low-budget motels, surviving while the buidings to which they were attached being completely wiped away.


Beau Rivage Casino and Hard Rock Cafe Restaurant


Among the buildings that fared much better than most was the Beau Rivage Casino, located right on the waterfront in Biloxi. This was clearly a well-built structure.

The Beau Rivage included an attached parking garage. The lower levels suffered superifcial damage, but the structure itself held up well.

Side view of the Beau Ravage parking garage, lower levels.

The Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi survived Katrina, even though is was located right on the water's edge.

A Canadian tourist who happened to be at the Beau Rivage the day before Katrina hit--and as far as I know remains anonymous--decided to stay at the Beau Rivage hotel and watch the storm from the parking garage. He recorded this video. I suspect he will not do this sort of thing again.



(The copyright claim below does not include the embedded video, above. The originator of this video is unknown.)