My Katrina memories

Published 7:00 am Saturday, August 30, 2014

Nine years ago yesterday I witnessed one of the greatest storms in history, literally.

As I stood outside my house and watched the eye of Hurricane Katrina pass over, I knew a state of normalcy was a long ways off.

Once the storm passed, a family member and I set out to help a group of county residents who took it upon themselves to begin clearing the roads. They had the chainsaws and we had the elbow grease. What I really wanted was for things to go back to normal and I was willing to help any way I could.

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Not many people in Pearl River County waited until federal assistance arrived to begin to pick up the pieces. They took the initiative to do it themselves.

After what I recall as being a hard day’s work, we all made our way back to our respective domicile, set to cook whatever food was in the refrigerator before it spoiled and then find ways to occupy our time in the dark.

As the weeks passed, and more of the roads were cleared, more homes regained the 21st century luxuries we’ve come to expect. Picayune and Pearl River County became a bit more of what it was before the storm hit, but at the same time it would never be the same.

The storm brought many new people, some temporary, some permanent. New buildings have sprouted up where damaged ones once stood, and new policies were set forth.

As the time has passed, I noticed this area is growing faster than it did in the nine years before Katrina. Local governments are learning from what didn’t go right, and continue and build upon what did.

Those first few years covering and experiencing the recovery process were some of the most rewarding I’ve had as both a journalist and county resident. I, like everyone that experienced the storm, learned many lessons about mankind and our resilience.