Hurricane Katrina: The Mississippi Story

Front Cover
Univ. Press of Mississippi, Mar 5, 2012 - History - 272 pages

This book presents the fullest account yet written of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Rooted in a wealth of oral histories, it tells the dramatic but underreported story of a people who confronted the unprecedented devastation of sixty five thousand homes when the eye wall and powerful northeast quadrant of the hurricane swept a record thirty-foot storm surge across a seventy-five-mile stretch of unprotected Mississippi towns and cities. James Patterson Smith takes us through life and death accounts of storm day, August 29, 2005, and the precarious days of food and water shortages that followed. Along the way the narrative treats us to inspiring episodes of neighborly compassion and creative responses to the greatest natural disaster in American history.

The heroes of this saga are the local people and local officials. In often moving accounts, the book addresses the Mississippi Gulf Coast's long struggle to remove a record-setting volume of debris and get on with the rebuilding of homes, schools, jobs, and public infrastructure. Along the way readers are offered insights into the politics of recovery funding and the bureaucratic bungling and hubris that afflicted the storm response and complicated and delayed the work of recovery. Still, there are ample accounts of things done well, and a moving chapter gives us a feel for the psychological, spiritual, and material impact of the eight hundred thousand people from across the nation who gave of themselves as volunteers in the Mississippi recovery effort.


What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


Katrina Impacts Mississippi This Is Our Tsunami
Havoc in the Aftermath
Hitching Up Our Britches Strength at the Bottom in a World Turned Upside Down
Rising from Shell Shock Sources of Resilience in State and Local Government
Digging Out in a Whirlwind of Contract Controversy
The Grace of Volunteers
The Long Wait for Housing
Disaster and Recovery in the Schools
The Great RedTape Battle for Public Buildings
Faith Hope and Jobs Progress and Frustration for the Business Recovery
Conclusion A Persevering People

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2012)

James Patterson Smith is professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast campus. He is the author, with Gilbert Mason, of Beaches, Blood, and Ballots: A Black Doctor's Civil Rights Struggle, published by the University Press of Mississippi.

Bibliographic information