When Hurricane Katrina arrived on our shores a decade ago, it was clear that parts of our state would never be the same. The storm was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, slamming into the Gulf Coast with a 30-foot surge and 100-plus mile per hour winds. Its massive impact touched all 82 of our counties and took the lives of 238 Mississippians.
At the time, I was serving in the U.S. House of Representatives for Mississippi’s First District, which includes the state’s northernmost counties. My wife, Gayle, and I traveled down to Pascagoula as part of a relief effort in the days that followed. We witnessed the overwhelming generosity of Mississippians across the state, from the donations that filled an eighteen-wheeler truck in Tupelo to the compassionate outreach at Agricola Baptist Church in George County, which became a vital hub for delivering supplies.
Katrina will always be remembered as a storm of profound loss, but it also revealed our state’s incredible strength. Despite almost total devastation, Mississippians refused to be defeated by the extraordinary challenges that Katrina had put before us.