Mercedes Carranza, a Gulfport restaurant owner, helped acclimate Hispanic families from Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico to a post-Katrina Coast when they arrived to help rebuild South Mississippi.
Susie DeStefano grieves the death of her mother who lost her life during Katrina. DeStefano and her family were able to lay Patricia Siwiec Meeks to rest after six weeks of searching for her following the storm.
Jackie Washington recounts the destruction of Biloxi in the aftermath of Katrina. The smell of death, the joy of finding neighbors alive, the lack of immediate aid and the anger at being considered a refugee resulted in the city’s common mantra of “I am Biloxi.”
Elizabeth Duvall fought with her son before Katrina made landfall in 2005. She begged him to evacuate, but he refused and chose to stay in Biloxi. Three days after the storm, she returned to search for him amid the destruction.
Lisa Robertson remembers going into labor and trying to find a place to deliver her daughter in devastated South Mississippi. Without power, without doctors and without supplies, Robertson gave birth to Sofia Marble the day after Katrina.
Joe Downey describes the destruction he and his fellow New York firefighters encountered when arriving in South Mississippi for their first deployment since 9/11. The department’s mission was to bring relief to the most damaged areas, but Downey remembers the generosity of the Coast’s residents despite all they had lost.
David Allen and the Waveland Police Department decided to stay and weather the storm in South Mississippi. When the station started to flood, Allen and his officers fought debris and struggled to survive in gasoline-fouled water.
Gary Hargrove worked tirelessly to identify those who died as a result of Katrina. His proudest moment came when he was able to identify and find the family of one unidentified man after searching for two years.
Ronald Riecter describes the risks of being a schooner captain in hurricane-prone South Mississippi. Riecter’s love of the Coast won’t allow him to leave, but his philosophy of not dwelling on the past has helped him recover from Katrina’s destruction.