Waveland, MS, damage photos Waveland, MS, Katrina Damage Photos

Storm Damage Photos, Waveland, MS
A Personal View - David and Kimberly King

Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast on August 29th, 2005.
At that time we lived in a small, lovely town called Waveland, MS.
It was the perfect "small town USA" environment.
We learned that Katrina was headed straight for us on Friday night, August 26th, at a party.
I was the Emergency Evacuation Officer for our Navy Command which was located in New Orleans.
That morning we heard the storm had only a 10% chance of moving our way. I even hesitated to brief our command on the situation.
Then at about 10 p.m. our lives suddenly changed. I advised our Commanding Officer to order an evacuation.
This is our story in pictures.

Our home on August 28, 2005 just before the storm.
David was exceptionally proud of his grass which he said was like a golf course.
Our home was located on Sears Avenue in Waveland, Mississippi, just four blocks from the beach.

Our home on Sept 2, 2005, after the storm.
It took us about an hour of climbing over rubble just to get to the house that day.
The car belongs to Gloria Smith, a neighbor across the street.
We never found a great majority of the house. Parts we did find were 2 or 3 blocks away.
The rubble in this photo is not of our home, but of other homes that were around us.

Our back yard before the storm, Aug 28, 2005, with beautiful oaks and plants.
I was a Chief Petty Officer in the Navy and this was to have been our retirement home.
Notice the boards below the windows. We were about to board the house for Hurricane Katrina when this photo was taken.

Our back yard after the storm, Sept 2, 2005.
Most of the debris shown here was not from our home, but from homes that were near the beach.

Cheryl Phillip's house, my neighbor, before Katrina.
Photo taken Aug 27, 2005.
Cheryl was so worried about the situation that she got in her car and left. She did not even wait to board a single window.
We then met people walking their dogs, or washing their cars, not seeming to worry at all.
Most had survived Hurricane Camille which hit in 1969.
They stated that they were staying.
We heard of no survivors in our immediate area after Katrina.

Cheryl Phillip's house after Katrina. As with every home, nothing was standing. In hindsight she was right to just leave.

Gloria Smith's house, neighbor, before Hurricane Katrina hit.
Gloria was a retired widow. A caring and lovely lady.

Gloria Smith's house after Katrina.
All that was left standing was the toilet.
Gloria still lives in a FEMA cottage to this day.

Mrs. Gwen Hogan's house before Katrina.
Photo taken on August 28, 2005.
Her house was on Beach Blvd, Waveland.
We were the first to tell Gwen the status of her home.
It was one of the most difficult calls I've ever had to make.

Gwen Hogan's house after Katrina.
We never found the house, walls, or roof.
We walked back 2 acres and still never found any of her things.
She had mounted elephant tusks from from a hunting trip her late-husband took in the 1960's.
They were heavy and fell when the house gave way.

Edna "C.J." Duncan's home; neighbor.
C.J. still owns her property in Waveland.
Our area was dubbed "Ground Zero" on the news.

Sears Avenue, Sept 2, 2005.
This is a photo of the street and why the news reported that we were "wiped off the face of the earth".
They were sadly right.

Homes were marked when searched.
If a dead person was found a number was placed at the bottom of the marks.
This one was marked on the window.
We saw these all over Waveland.
It was reported that 115 people were found dead in Waveland.

Farrar Drive; This house marked on the roof.

Despite the uprooting of a tree at my Father's shed, my motorbike, besides being flooded, remained intact.
This was the most unusual site in an entire day of endless debris.
The kick stand was less than one inch from the hole made by the uprooted tree.

All that's left of Michelle and Barry Zeeman's home.
It was a brick home. They were my neighbors.

Coleman Avenue, downtown Waveland, before Katrina.

Looking at Coleman Avenue towards the beach.
Coleman is the downtown area where City Hall was.
It was lined with quaint shops and oaks.

Every beach home we saw looked like this.
Stripped bare by the 33 foot storm surge which was like a tidal wave.

The greatest miracle is finding any photographs.
This is part of my son Kyle's baby book which I forgot to get when leaving.
It was handwritten notes of what happened the first 4 years of his life.
Unfortunately I did not find any of that.
I will always regret forgetting to grab the book.

Sitting unprotected and out in the open, was this photo of my son Kevin.
It was a single photograph which was beat up but right in the debris. We found it 4 blocks from where our home stood.
In fact we took this photo as we were making our way to our house.
The photo is a treasure for us now. All in all what we collected can fit into a small car trunk.

All that remained of our shed and children's bikes.
Our things may be gone, but we are very grateful to God for ever having had such a nice home, wonderful friends, and great town in which to live.

How do you sleep after losing your house? On the ground of course.
Some wonderful volunteers gave us some broken down boxes for a mattress, towels for blankets, and toilet paper rolls for pillows.

The author of this website in my neighborhood.
I carried a knife and gaff that day.
As the tourist streamed by, and took my picture, (this is one sent to me), they asked if I was using the knife and gaff to kill wild animals, alligators and snakes.
I told them the gaff was to help me walk over the rubble, and the knife was used primarily to help me open the MRE or 'Meals Ready to Eat' containers.
They liked thinking I was killing snakes alot better.

After several months of waiting, we decided to have some fun with our friends at FEMA.
Just as we set this prop up, and were laughing about it, FEMA showed up.
The workers posed near the car, and said they would help.
They did by bringing us a FEMA trailer one week later,
but FEMA was to change the rules on relief aid several times, making for more heartache,
as we learned they were not going to help beyond the trailer.

~Beach Visitor:
We had a visitor to the beach.
A 6-foot alligator who was found sitting in a drainage area just one block from Christ Episcopal church grounds.
The police came, all very young, and nearly died when the alligator lunged at them.
They said they were calling a trapper, who never showed up.
Beware of beach gators.

Our property in August 2006.
This photo was taken on the anniversary of the storm, a full year later.
The area around us is overgrown with weeds, and there is still debris all over, but our grass returned after we had over 25 volunteer groups to come and help us.
The trailer in the photo is a FEMA trailer.

June 2007: After endless hours of work, and a bulldozer, we have gotten rid of the endless piles of debris.
Our lot sits quietly where a house once stood.
We are grateful to all of the volunteers, especially church groups, for helping us in our time of need.
We truly did not ever want to be called a "victim", and we have tried to recover to the best of our ability.
The reality is that the cost is immense, and recovery is still very slow.
We learned to live with little, and we learned to appreciate our Lord and all that is important in life.

Moral of this story:

Please...if you are ever in the path of a Hurricane, and asked or ordered to evacuate...LEAVE!
Do not second guess this.
Do not under estimate the power of this type of storm.

Had we stayed in our home during Katrina, we would have been killed.
Your five or six foot frame cannot withstand the power of a 200-500 mile wide storm.
Learn, heed, live from our experience.

Last word: I have heard people tell me that the News Media overstates the damage a storm can cause.
That, my friends, is ridiculous.
Had they not stressed the danger, I would not be here today.
Ask any Hurricane Katrina survivor.
Thank God for those that warn and inform us.
Don't be totally stupid!

Very Sincerely, Kimberly King
Author of "A Personal View"

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