Thursday, Sept. 1



Thursday, Sept. 1
S e r v i n g
P a s c a g o u l a ,
O c e a n
S p r i n g s ,
M o s s
P o i n t ,
G a u t i e r
a n d
L u c e d a l e
THE MISSISSIPPI PRESS Our online affiliate
Thursday, September 1, 2005
Communication snags, long lines and shattered lives
greet returnees, as Katrina’s death toll climbs
The Mississippi Press
PASCAGOULA — The death
toll in Jackson County from Hurricane Katrina stood at 15 at noon
Wednesday. That number was
expected to rise as search and rescue crews began making their
ways into communities where
debris and destruction could take
weeks to clear.
Water, ice and food began trickling in to various distribution sites,
which were growing in number by
mid-afternoon throughout the
But anxieties, trepidation and
unknown have
some residents onedge.
Dwayne Davis, 39, and Tommy
Moye, 37, neighbors in Escatawpa
who had evacuated, were some of
the more than 2,000 people who
came to the Jackson County Fairgrounds in Pascagoula in a matter
of minutes, carrying all they could
of the life-sustaining staples that
have been scarce since Katrina
churned north Monday afternoon.
“This was too bad. We got lucky
with (Ivan and Dennis) but we
were on the wrong side of this
one,” Davis said. “We had a little
time to prepare but that wasn’t
enough, not for the magnitude of
this one.”
Davis and Moye suffered some
tree damage but Davis’ family
members lost everything.
Christy Pritchett/The Mississippi Press
The Martin Luther King Jr. Causeway lies in pieces in the west bound lane in Pascagoula in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
Power of Katrina’s wrath
comes to light in St. Martin
The Mississippi Press
Carisa Anderson/The Mississippi Press
Porteaux Bay homes on Riveriera Drive are painted with messages letting everyone know residents are safe after Hurricane
Katrina destroyed homes in the St. Martin neighborhood.
Katrina recovery likely to take years, Bush says
ST. MARTIN — Residents began to return home to see
what Katrina left behind.
Many found nothing but a badly damaged skeleton of
their home. Some found only rubble.
Randy McElroy’s Gulf Hills home was gutted, as were
those of his neighbors.
“It had to have been a tornado,” McElroy said. “Some of
these houses are totally gone or half gone,” he said as he
surveyed what remained of his neighborhood.
He pointed to the shattered windows of his home.
Inside, there was six to seven feet of water, he said.
The McElroys had intended to ride out the storm, but
were persuaded by their children to join them in Latimer.
McElroy and his wife, Pam, were trying to salvage anything that they could, like a jewelry
cabinet that had to be pried open to
retrieve the keepsakes inside.
“We’ve found bits and pieces of
my great-grandmother’s china, but
none of the antique dolls,” Pam
McElroy said.
Her 86-year-old mother, who lives
with them, has only one pair of
shoes, and they have not been able
to find another matching pair in the rubble.
“I’ve never been homeless before, so I don’t know what’s
next,” McElroy said over the now-familiar roar of a C130 cargo plane overhead.
Rhonda and Parrish Champagne chose to stay in the
home they affectionately call the “Rhonda-rosa,” during the
storm. Four family members and Otis, their Great Dane
rode out the storm in one of the three homes that remained
standing in the Ascot Point subdivision.
“We knew it was strong enough,” Tapp said. “He built it,
that’s why we stayed,” she said as she pointed to Parrish
Champagne, whose construction company built the home.
The family, who lost eight vehicles in the storm, savored
a glass of wine while waiting on a ride.
“Welcome to the Rhonda-rosa! Come on in,” the family
said to friends and neighbors who stopped by as they
entered the home where garage walls once stood.
The three-story home was flooded and the walls of the
bottom floors were blown out.
“It was scary,” said Natasha Tapp, who was wearing
one of her straw hats she found in the front yard. “It was
like being in the middle of the ocean.”
The family watched as the homes around Porteaux Bay
were washed away.
“We watched everybody’s house blow away,” said Rhonda Champagne. “A whole house floated down the bay,”
she said.
As the family watched others’ homes, a boat was tossed
against the side of their home.
Water started rushing over the sea wall at 5:30 Monday
morning and ended up at the second level.
“At 11:30 the front door crashed in, that’s how we knew
the house was coming apart,” Tapp said.
“I always wanted a breeze,” Rhonda Champagne said as she looked
out were garage walls used to be.
“Honey, we got it!”
Robin Pate and Dawn and Gabby
Williams were in the Porteaux Bay
area checking on a family member’s
home at Dismuke Avenue and Riviera Drive.
The home was flooded and the family car could be seen
peeking underneath the garage door where it was tossed
around in the flood water.
“They don’t even know yet,” Pate said. “It’s kind of surreal.”
“Oh, look, here’s Valerie’s graduation picture!” Pate
exclaimed as she looked through the debris in the yard.
“Here’s Miss Katie-bug!” she said as she showed off a picture she found of her young niece.
As they were sifting through debris, Glenn Foreman,
who lives at the north end of Dismuke Avenue, came up to
see how his friends fared.
“That’s my daddy’s boat!” Foreman said with a laugh as
he pointed to the large shrimp boat sitting at the intersection of Dismuke Avenue and Riviera Drive.
Foreman, who got three feet of water in his home, said
See ST. MARTIN, Page 6-A
‘Thousands’ likely dead in New Orleans; mayor urges citizens
to leave swamped city due to health problems
Vol. 159 — No. 244, 12 ages ©
William Colgin/The Mississippi Press
Casino wreckage litters Beach Boulevard in Biloxi after the area was devastated by Hurricane Katrina.
Mississippi considering land-based casinos
The Associated Press
Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of
the Gulf Coast gambling industry
could sway Mississippi legislators to
consider allowing land-based casinos
and scrap the law that placed them on
the water in vulnerable spots.
“I think that will be a public policy
question that will be on the minds of
every legislator when they come in
for the next session,” said Larry Gregory, the Mississippi Gaming Commission’s executive director. “That
discussion will be the No. 1 issue in
this legislative cycle. This will definitely put the fire under their feet.”
More than half of the 13 casinos in
Biloxi, Gulfport and Bay St. Louis
were destroyed by the hurricane that
roared in off the ocean, Gregory said
“The only casino I saw that looked
intact and stable was the Beau
Rivage,” in Biloxi, he said of property
owned by Las Vegas-based MGM
Mirage Inc. “It’s more than just the
casinos. It’s the infrastructure. It’s
going to take several years to get that
up and running.”
Mississippi requires casinos to float,
either along the Gulf Coast or on the
Mississippi River. A state law that
took effect earlier this year allows the
floating casinos to build permanent
pilings to stabilize the barges.
It’s not clear if that reinforcement
would have been enough to save the
casinos in a Category 4 or 5 hurricane. None of the casinos had a
chance to construct pilings.
Rep. Steve Holland, D-Plantersville,
said the law should be rewritten to
allow land-based casinos, but only in
areas that had gambling barges
“I think if they had been on land, it
still would have been disastrous, but
not nearly as much,” said Holland , a
member of the Gaming Committee in
the Mississippi House.
Some lawmakers, particularly religious conservatives, have opposed
land-based casinos along the coast or
the Mississippi River because they
fear other, inland counties would push
for gambling house, too.
After the hurricane, “I think what
you’re going to see, politically, is a
different mind-set on everything,”
Holland said.
Powerful winds and a massive
storm surge laid waste to the region,
tossing some of the barges on which
the casinos rested like toy boats and
crippling the state’s $2.7 billion gambling industry.
Las Vegas-based Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. likely lost two casinos in
the powerful hurricane: the Grand
Casinos in Biloxi and Gulfport. The
Beau Rivage sustained “significant
damage, “ as did Biloxi’s Casino Magic, which is owned by Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. of Las Vegas.
The Casino Magic Bay St. Louis
and Boomtown Biloxi Casino in Biloxi
were severely damaged, according to
owner Penn National Gaming Inc.
Television footage showed the Copa
Casino in Gulfport and the Hard Rock
casino in Biloxi appeared to have
extensive damage.
The Treasure Bay Casino in Biloxi
was a total loss, said Bernie Burkholder, president and chief executive.
Gary Loveman, Harrah’s chairman
and chief executive, said putting casinos on boats didn’t make any sense.
It’s been a running debate since the
state legalized floating casinos in 1990
and the first one opened in 1992.
“I’ve just never understood that,”
Loveman said. “It’s not simply an
inconvenience. ... it’s a public safety
Loveman, who runs the world’s
largest gambling company, said Harrah’s would rebuild on the Gulf Coast
but would take a hard look at put-
ting a casino on a barge again.
JP Morgan gambling analyst Harry
Curtis wrote in an investor’s note that
the state would benefit from landbased casinos.
“In the long run, we think this legislation would be good for the state’s
tourism industry,” because it could
encourage greater investment and
greater amenities,” Curtis said. He
cautioned that “investment would not
occur unless casinos could build facilities to withstand Category 5 hurricanes.”
Gregory said losing the casino
industry would hobble the state.
About 14,000 people work in the casinos along the Mississippi coastline.
Each casino has a land-based hotel,
and thousands more employees work
in those.
“We just want to make sure that
they come back to this state,” he said.
“That’s vital to our communities.”
Bush: Recovery from Katrina will take years
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — President Bush pledged Wednesday to do “all in our power” to
save lives and provide sustenance to uncounted victims of
Hurricane Katrina but cautioned that recovery of the
Gulf Coast will take years.
“We’re dealing with one of
the worst natural disasters in
our nation’s history,” he said at
the White House after breaking off his Texas vacation and
viewing the devastation from
Air Force One.
With a vast federal relief
effort grinding into operation
— from food and shelter to
spraying for disease-carrying
mosquitoes — Bush cautioned
that the effects of the storm
will be felt far beyond
Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
He said he had ordered
steps to cushion the impact on
the storm on the nation’s oil
industry at a time when consumers are paying $3 a gallon for gasoline in some
regions. “This will help take
some pressure off of gas price,
but our citizens must understand this storm has disrupted
the capacity to make gasoline
and distribute gasoline,” he
Flanked by senior members
of his administration, Bush
recited some of the actions
already taken to help victims
of the storm — more than 50
disaster medical assistance
teams and more than 25
urban search and rescue
teams, both from the Federal
Emergency Management
He said the Transportation
Department has provided
trucks to convey 5.4 million
ready-to-eat meals, 13.4 million liters of water, 10,400
tarps, 3.4 million pounds of
ice, 144 generators, 20 containers of prepositioned disaster supplies, 135,000 blankets and 11,000 cots.
“And we’re just starting,” he
While Bush offered no
immediate estimate for the
cost of the federal effort,
administration spokesman
Dana Perino said a funding
request would be prepared
quickly. Congressional leaders
in both parties said they were
eager to respond to a disaster
whose full scope was still
Standing in the Rose Garden, Bush said, “This recovery will take a long time. This
recovery will take years.”
He said buses were on the
way to help take thousands of
storm survivors from the overwhelmed Superdome in New
Orleans to the Astrodome in
Bush said the Pentagon, as
well, was contributing to the
rescue and relief operations,
and the administration would
make road and bridge repair a
Bush also said he had
instructed Energy Secretary
Samuel Bodman to work with
refineries to “alleviate any
shortage through loans.”
In addition to the government’s efforts, Bush encouraged private cash donations
to recovery efforts.
While Bush did not minimize the destruction left by
the storm, he expressed optimism in words directed at the
victims of the storm who have
lost their homes, possessions
and employment.
“I’m confident that with
time you’ll get your life back in
order, new communities will
flourish, the great city of New
Orleans will get back on its
feet and America will be a
stronger place for it,” he said.
“The country stands with
you. We’ll do all in our power
to help you,” he said.
Bush stepped to the microphones to put a personal
imprint on efforts his administration is making to cope
with the disaster in the Gulf
Coast. He also planned a rare
live one-on-one television
interview Thursday with
ABC’s Diane Sawyer on “Good
Morning America.”
“Truckloads of water, ice,
meals, medical supplies, generators, tents and tarpaulins”
are loaded aboard 1,700 trailer trucks in an initial emergency response, Homeland
Security Secretary Michael
Chertoff said earlier at a news
He pledged a “full range of
federal resources” — a list
that ran from bridge inspection and repair to restoration
of communications networks
to mosquito abatement in a
region with vast stretches
At the same time, officials
warned of continuing hardships across an area laid
waste by the powerful storm.
Michael Leavitt, secretary
of Health and Human Services, announced that he had
declared a public health emergency in the area stretching
from Louisiana to Florida. “We
are gravely concerned about
the potential for cholera,
typhoid and dehydrating diseases that could come as a
result of the stagnant water
and the conditions,” he said.
Epidemic cholera and
typhoid are not considered
likely threats because they
have become extremely rare
in the U.S. population, said
Richard Garfield, a Columbia
University professor of international clinical nursing who
helped coordinate medical care
in Indonesia following last
year’s tsunami.
An HHS spokeswoman,
Christina Pearson, said Leavitt mentioned the two diseases
“to make a broader point”
about illnesses that could be
spread in conditions like those
on the Gulf Coast.
Chertoff and Leavitt spoke
at a news conference attended
by an unusual array of department and agency heads, each
of whom came equipped with a
list of actions already taken
by the administration.
In addition to steps designed
to alleviate the suffering of
victims, the administration
moved to cushion the impact
the storm might have on the
nation’s oil supply.
Bush signed off on a plan to
release oil from emergency
stockpiles, a decision intended
to offset the loss of production
from Gulf Coast refiners.
At the same time, Environmental Protection Agency
Administrator Stephen Johnson announced a temporary
nationwide waiver of certain
pollution standards covering
gasoline and diesel fuels.
Johnson had issued the
waiver for the four storm-damaged Gulf states on Tuesday
but said the broader move was
necessary “to ensure that fuel
is available throughout the
country, to address public
health issues and emergency
vehicle supply needs.”
Additionally, Bodman said
the Transportation Department had waived rules governing trucker hours, a step
he said would increase the
supply of gasoline.
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841,000 still without power in Mississippi
■ Electricity slowly being
restored to some regions of state
The Associated Press
JACKSON — Much of Mississippi remained
dark Wednesday, with more than 841,000 residents still without power.
Entergy Mississippi, which serves 410,000
customers in the western part of the state,
dropped its outage rate on Wednesday to
221,782 customers, from about 300,800 right
after Hurricane Katrina passed through the
state, said Checky Herrington, manager of communications.
The company prioritized emergency customers, including hospitals, police and fire
departments, transportation providers and public works facilities.
Entergy is continuing to assess the damage
across its service region, with employees working long days in the heat to restore the service.
“The destruction has been much worse than
we imagined,” Herrington said. “Hundreds of
poles down, literally miles of wire on the ground,
and we’re in the process of determining where
those areas are and what’s needed to get those
lines back up in the way of equipment and personnel.”
The company’s work force has expanded from
1,200 to more than 2,000 workers as more come
in from other states.
“We have a well rehearsed plan that we are
implementing,” Herrington said. “We are
encouraged that while they may be small steps,
we are making progress.”
The Electric Power Associations of Mississippi have restored power to almost 20,000 customers since Katrina ravaged the state.
Most of the relief went to northern Mississippi
where damage was less severe, said Ron Stew-
art, the organization’s senior vice president.
The Environmental Power Associations of
Mississippi distribute electricity to more than
1.6 million customers across the state, and
430,000 of those remained without power
The organization has reported 30,000 downed
power lines in just one coastal system it serves
and it will be as many as six weeks before all
service is restored, Stewart said.
The company is operating with about 2,500
service workers, at least 50 of whom lost their
homes in the storm.
“This is a valiant effort to get power restored,
especially considering that from 50 to 60 Coast
Electric employees are now homeless but still
working to restore power,” said Ron Barnes
manager of marketing and member services.
Mississippi Power, which serves 195,000 people in the southeastern part of the state,
restored power to about 5,000 of its customers
in the Meridian area by early Wednesday.
Hospitals, and a wastewater treatment facility were top priorities for the power company.
Katrina knocked out power for all of the company’s customers, and officials expect it could
take as much as four weeks to completely
restore normal power operations.
“This is the worst disaster we’ve had in the
(75-year) history of our company,” said Anthony
Topazi, president and CEO of Mississippi Power Co.
On Thursday, nearly 5,000 outside personnel are expected to join the already 2,500
The most severe damage fell along the path of
Katrina, along the coast and through the Pine
Belt area.
“South Mississippi is our home,” Topazi said
in a release. “It is our intention to work hard
every day until we completely restore electric
service to the area.”
Mayor orders
police to return
to streets,
stop looting
Ray Nagin ordered 1,500
police to leave their searchand-rescue mission Wednesday night and return to the
streets of New Orleans to
stop the looting.
“Looters are getting much
more aggressive,” Nagin said
in a statement to The Associated Press. “They are starting
to get closer to heavily populated areas _ hotels, hospitals, and we’re going to stop
it right now.”
Looters will be arrested and
jailed, he said.
Since Hurricane Katrina,
police have been so preoccupied with helping rescue flood
victims that they have virtually ignored looting. One problem was that the Orleans
Parish Prison was being
evacuated, but Nagin said a
temporary jail for looters was
being prepared and he
expected officers to take
offenders into custody.
Nagin said it appears the
rescue operation is under
control and he wanted police
back making the streets safe.
they will be using patrol cars,
boats, highwater vehicles —
whatever is necessary to stop
the looting, Nagin said.
Dewatering New Orleans
is engineering dilemma
an engineering problem that
hasn’t been solved: How do
you plug a broken floodwall
and drain a city that is submerged in water in many
Officials acknowledge
plans to “unwater New
Orleans” have failed, have
been redrawn and are continuing to evolve.
The first was to use helicopters to drop hefty sandbags and giant concrete barriers to plug the hole in the
floodwall of a canal which
usually drains water from
New Orleans and Jefferson
Crews had already moved
in the 250 concrete walls and
hundreds of sandbags when
the problems cropped up.
Transportation and engineering officials questioned
whether the original structure
was sound enough to hold
against the pressure from the
So, they tweaked the plans
and were working to hire a
contractor to drive steel,
sheet metal pilings down
across the canal to stop
water in the lake from moving
into the canal before it ever
got to the floodwall.
That still was difficult. The
pilings need to go down
beyond 30 feet to fully block
the flow of water, according
to Michael B. Rogers, with
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
In the meantime, the corps
was planning to punch deliberate breaches into the levee
system along Lake Pontchartrain, moving from east to
west, cutting notches that
would let the water flow back
out of New Orleans and into
the lake, Rogers said.
“People are in the air right
now locating the best places
to do that,” Rogers said
William Colgin/The Mississippi Press
Biloxi’s lighthouse miraculously still stands, while almost everything else is gone.
‘Thousands’ likely
dead in New Orleans
The Associated Press
thousands feared drowned in
what could be America’s deadliest natural disaster in a century, New Orleans’ leaders all
but surrendered the streets to
floodwaters Wednesday and
began turning out the lights
on the ruined city — perhaps
for months.
Looting spiraled so out of
control that Mayor Ray Nagin
ordered virtually the entire
police force to abandon searchand-rescue efforts and focus on
the brazen packs of thieves
who have turned increasingly
Nagin called for an all-out
evacuation of the city’s remaining residents. Asked how many
people died, he said: “Minimum, hundreds. Most likely,
With most of the city under
water, Army engineers struggled to plug New Orleans’
breached levees with giant
sandbags and concrete barriers, and authorities drew up
plans to clear out the tens of
thousands of remaining people
and practically abandon the
below-sea-level city.
Nagin said there will be a
“total evacuation of the city.
We have to. The city will not be
functional for two or three
months.” And he said people
would not be allowed back into
their homes for at least a
month or two.
If the mayor ’s death-toll
estimate holds true, it would
make Katrina the worst natural disaster in the United
States since at least the 1906
San Francisco earthquake and
— From Wire Reports fire, which have blamed for
anywhere from about 500 to
6,000 deaths. Katrina would
also be the nation’s deadliest
hurricane since 1900, when a
storm in Galveston, Texas,
killed between 6,000 and
12,000 people.
A slow exodus from the
Superdome began Wednesday
as the first of nearly 25,000
refugees left the miserable surroundings of the football stadium and were transported in
buses to the Astrodome in
Houston, 350 miles away. Conditions in the Superdome had
become horrendous: There was
no air conditioning, the toilets
were backed up, and the stench
was so bad that medical workers wore masks as they walked
In Mississippi, bodies are
starting to pile up at the
morgue in hard-hit Harrison
County. Forty corpses have
been brought to the morgue
already, and officials expect the
death toll in the county to
climb well above 100.
Tempers were beginning to
flare in the aftermath of the
storm. Police said a man fatally shot his sister in the head
over a bag of ice in Hattiesburg, Miss.
President Bush flew over
New Orleans and parts of Mississippi’s hurricane-blasted
coastline in Air Force One.
Turning to his aides, he said:
“It’s totally wiped out. ... It’s
devastating, it’s got to be doubly devastating on the ground.”
“We’re dealing with one of
the worst natural disasters in
our nation’s history,” Bush said
later in a televised address
from the White House, which
most victims could not see
because power remains out to 1
million Gulf Coast residents.
The federal government dispatched helicopters, warships
and elite SEAL water-rescue
teams in one of the biggest
relief operations in U.S. history, aimed at plucking residents
from rooftops in the last of the
“golden 72 hours” rescuers say
is crucial to saving lives.
As fires burned from broken
natural-gas mains, the skies
above the city buzzed with
National Guard and Coast
Guard helicopters frantically
dropping baskets to roofs
where victims had been stranded since the storm roared in
with a 145-mph fury Monday.
Atop one apartment building,
two children held up a giant
sign scrawled with the words:
“Help us!”
Looters used garbage cans
and inflatable mattresses to
float away with food, blue
jeans, tennis shoes, TV sets _
even guns. Outside one pharmacy, thieves commandeered
a forklift and used it to push up
the storm shutters and break
through the glass. The driver of
a nursing-home bus surrendered the vehicle to thugs after
being threatened.
Police were asking residents
to give up any firearms before
they evacuated neighborhoods
because officers desperately
needed the firepower: Some
officers who had been stranded
on the roof of a hotel said they
were shot at.
Police said their first priority
remained saving lives, and
mostly just stood by and
watched the looting. But Nagin
later said the looting had gotten so bad that stopping the
thieves became the top priority
for the police department.
“They are starting to get
closer to heavily populated
areas — hotels, hospitals, and
we’re going to stop it right
now,” Nagin said in a statement to The Associated Press.
Hundreds of people wandered up and down shattered
Interstate 10 — the only major
freeway leading into New
Orleans from the east — pushing shopping carts, laundry
racks, anything they could find
to carry their belongings.
On some of the few roads
that were still open, people
waved at passing cars with
empty water jugs, begging for
relief. Hundreds of people
appeared to have spent the
night on a crippled highway.
Nagin, whose pre-hurricane
evacuation order got most of
his city of a half a million out of
harm’s way, estimated 50,000
to 100,000 people remained,
and said that 14,000 to 15,000
a day could be evacuated in
ensuing convoys.
“We have to,” Nagin said.
“It’s not living conditions.”
He also expressed concern
about people staying in the
water: “People walking in that
water with those dead bodies,
it can get in your pores, you
don’t have to drink it.”
In addition to the Astrodome
solution, the Federal Emergency Management Agency
was considering putting people on cruise ships, in tent
cities, mobile home parks, and
so-called floating dormitories.
The floodwaters streamed
into the city’s streets from two
levee breaks near Lake
Pontchartrain a day after New
Orleans thought it had escaped
catastrophic damage from Katrina. The floodwaters covered
80 percent of the city, in some
areas 20 feet deep, in a reddish-brown soup of sewage,
gasoline and garbage.
Around midday, officials with
the state and the Army Corps
of Engineers said the water levels between the city and the
lake had equalized, and water
had stopped spilling into New
Orleans, and even appeared to
be falling. But the danger was
far from over.
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Christy Pritchett/The Mississippi Press
Melanie Moore, left, rakes in a puddle trying to salvage china where her dining room used to be with her sister-in-law, Ann Reimer, along Beach Boulevard in Pascagoula
Wednesday afternoon.
Carisa Anderson/The Mississippi Press
Porteaux Bay homes on Riviera Drive are painted with messages about the owner’s insurance after Hurricane
Katrina destroyed homes in the St. Martin neighborhood.
William Colgin/The Mississippi Press
“I’ve never been homeless before, so I don’t know what’s next.”
— Pam McElroy
Lela McCraw, 90, of Vancleave takes a nap at the Red
Cross shelter in Vancleave High School Wednesday
morning. McCraw lost her home to Hurricane Katrina.
William Colgin/The Mississippi Press
Jackson County residents crowd around a television to watch the news at the Red
Cross Shelter at Vancleave High School Wednesday morning.
Carisa Anderson/The Mississippi Press
Water from the Biloxi Bay rushed into homes in Gulf Hills Estates in Ocean Springs
as Hurricane Katrina made landfall Monday on the Gulf Coast.
To report a storm-related claim, call :
If your insured property or auto was damaged by the recent hurricane, the Allstate Catastrophe team
is here and ready to help with your claim. Call 1-800-54-STORM, contact your Allstate Agent or file your
claim online at In your time of need, you deserve personal help and attention.
Allstate Insurance Company, Allstate Indemnity Company, and Allstate Property and
Casualty Insurance Company: Northbrook, IL. © 2005 Allstate Insurance Company
From Page 1-A
Davis stressed how important
it will be for families, friends
and neighbors to pull together.
“Been seeing a lot of good in
people, seen a little bad,” Davis
Tameka McKee, 38, also of
Escatawpa, was worried about
how her 55-year-old mother
would get daily dialysis treatments. There were reports of
eight- to 10-hour waits for hospital care, with workers there
flooded by a wide range of emergencies.
McKee’s 17-year-old daughter, Brittany Middleton, who’s
nine months pregnant, rode out
the storm, lost everything in
chest-high water.
Middleton’s disposition
Wednesday was “hot, hungry,
frustrated, tired,” and she still
had not heard how other family
members were doing.
Tracy McDaniel, 32, of
Pascagoula, evacuated her
Choctaw Avenue home in
Pascagoula, but her four brothers who stayed in the house
located just north of the
Pascagoula Beach, were on the
roof for four hours before the
waters receded.
“There is nothing (left), everything’s gone,” she said.
Pascagoula Building Official
Steve Mitchell said his crews
have been making assessments
and in many cases “writing off”
certain neighborhoods, especially in south Pascagoula near
the beach.
No names were released of
those killed by the historicallydestructive storm. The Red
Cross set up a missing persons
line to assist people in locating
loved ones. But communications,
even local land lines, were still
in disarray, with no clear time
frame of when they will be back
Singing River Electric Power
Association officials said that it
has no transmission capability,
and it will be four days before it
receives electricity itself. It will
take four to six weeks before
power is restored to the energy
cooperative’s 65,000 customers
American Red Cross volunteers were awaiting help from
Carisa Anderson/The Mississippi Press
Margaret Wood of Ocean Springs, second from left, comforts her daughter, LeAnn Smith, as Smith sees her family and their home on Hermosa Drive in Gulf Hills Estates Wednesday morning for the first time after Hurricane
Katrina. Smith came from Memphis with her husband, Ken, Wednesday morning to help her mother, brother,
Stewart Wood, left, and father, Alan Wood, right, salvage things from the home damaged by surge from the Biloxi
Bay Monday.
across the nation. Water, ice and
meals began trickling in and
were handed out at dozens of
distribution sites throughout the
county. Capt. George Tillman
with the Pascagoula Police
Department urged those coming for water, ice and meals to
use vehicles to pick up their supplies.
“We can move a lot faster if
they’re in vehicles,” he said.
A line of some 300 people
snaked from the First Baptist
Church of Pascagoula as volunteers dished up hot meals. For
many in the multitude —
including some who lost everything — it was their first hot
meal since Katrina’s violent
At the Church of the Living
God on U.S. 90, volunteers distributed ice and water. Insurance agencies on Jackson
Avenue set up makeshift offices
outside their battered buildings
to help customers with claims.
Thousands, however, continue
to live without transportation
to even drive to distribution
sites. Paige Roberts, executive
director of the Southeast Mississippi Chapter of The American Red Cross, said routes for
mobile distribution vans have
been mapped throughout county neighborhoods and should be
regular enough that there “will
be something everybody knows,
like the ice cream trucks” and
also “serve as the eyes and ears
to let us know what the needs
are and where.” They will also
distribute “comfort kits” for
housecleaning and personal
hygiene needs.
Gasoline was scarce, with
some stores only able to provide
fuel for short periods in Vancleave, Hurley and Lucedale and
some areas west of there.
Donna Sampson, owner of
C&E Last Stop near the Jackson-George county line, took the
generator from her home, losing everything in her freezer, so
she could hook it up to pumps
for people to get gas. There was
a two-hour wait, and her hus-
band, Ricky, and brother, Tim
Harris, pumped nonstop until
the fuel was gone.
There were reports of people
siphoning gas from vehicles, as
well as looting and price-gouging
of water and other supplies.
Police and search-and-rescue
personnel from Jacksonville,
Tampa, Orlando and the Florida
Department of Law Enforcement and other states were
helping with patrols and making arrests for looting, said
spokesman positioned at the
Jackson County Emergency
Management Center.
He said residents “need to rely
on themselves as much as pos-
It may take up to two months
before the Ocean Springs sewer
system can be analyzed, and
that could result in “an environmental hazard, big-time,”
county Supervisor John McKay
Portable toilets are still days
away. Tradesmen, including
electricians, carpenters and
engineers are also desperately
needed, county officials said.
Royce Cumbest, president and
CEO of Merchants & Marine
Bank, said customers’ money is
safe and the bank will establish
a means of distributing cash
throughout strategically-located areas throughout the county.
It is important to get the local
economy going again, Cumbest
U.S. Coast Guard officials said
the four ships at Northrop
Grumman in Pascagoula and
the sailors who were inside
fared well during and after the
storm. But property, such as
vehicles and some buildings on
the West Bank, were heavily
damaged. The shipyard itself,
one Coast Guard official said,
had “some damage but nothing
monumental” and one lesson
learned for the future may be
to make it mandatory to double
up and cinch lines connected to
the ships. No reports from
Naval Station Pascagoula were
available at press time, nor were
confirmed damages at other
County Fire Coordinator Ray
Watson said a burn ban is also
in effect countywide until further notice, primarily because
there is no water available to
extinguish fires.
County Supervisor Frank
Leach said more shelters will
be needed to “at least have a
place where people can lay their
heads down” as the many other
needs come in.
Stores like Walgreens, Lowe’s
and others were opening for
lines of customers and those are
expected to grow as the recovery
and rebuilding progress each
Reporter Brad Crocker can
be reached at 251-219-5551.
Reporter Donna Harris contributed to this report.
St. Martin
From Page 1-A
he felt lucky. He helped rescue a family of four
and their dog from a 30-foot tree and his father’s
home at the south end of Dismuke was
“My daddy’s got nothing,” he said. “But we’re
still around, we’ll still be here. We’ll just start
Two St. Martin schools may also be starting
over. St. Martin Middle School and Upper Elementary were both flooded and Assistant Superintendent Barry Amacker described them as
“totally destroyed.”
“There’s nothing we can’t overcome,” said
Upper Elementary Principal Val Martino.
Cindy Robertson teaches fifth grade English
at Upper Elementary and had recruited her
husband, Mike, to help salvage items from her
As her husband loaded up a podium she had
used in the early years of her 22-year teaching
career, she listed what few items she could salvage.
“Two bottles of glue, 10 pencils, four stools...”
she said through tears.
Robertson’s mood then lightened a bit. It was
ironic, she said that water was to the ceilings in
her classroom, since her front door banner read
‘An Ocean of Ideas in Mrs. Robertson’s Class- ble sessions of classes to make up for lost time,
once the schools are up and running.
Amacker said St. Martin High School sufReporter Clair Byrd can be reached at (251)
fered roof damage and North Elementary and
East Elementary suffered only minor damage. 219-5551.
St. Martin school officials are considering dou-
Carisa Anderson/The Mississippi Press
The “Lucy F.” blocks Riviera Drive at Dismuke Avenue in the Porteaux Bay neighborhood of St. Martin.
Christy Pritchett/The Mississippi Press
A sign posted on the stairs of a home that was devistated on Beach Blvd. in
Pascagoula echos the feeling of some residence in Pascagoula, Miss. Wednesday
Carisa Anderson/The Mississippi Press
William Colgin/The Mississippi Press
A coffin lies by the road in Pascagoula after it was washed from its grave by Hurricane Katrina.
Margaret Wood of Ocean Springs sorts through her daughter’s wedding presents
that were stored in her Hermosa Drive home in Gulf Hills Estates while Hurricane
Katrina made landfall Monday on the Gulf Coast. Wood’s daughter, LeAnn Smith,
married in May and moved to Memphis with her husband, Ken. The couple drove to
Ocean Springs Wednesday to help the Wood’s salvage things from the home damaged by surge from the Biloxi Bay.
S e r v i n g
P a s c a g o u l a ,
O c e a n
S p r i n g s ,
M o s s
P o i n t ,
G a u t i e r
a n d
L u c e d a l e
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 1, 2005 Our online affiliate
“We’ll be in search-and-rescue mode for several days.”
— Capt. Mike Dickens of Central Task Force 4
Crews comb Gautier for survivors, bodies
Christy Pritchett/The Mississippi Press
Only pilings stand where a water front home once stood, in the background a home on Soundview still standing shows gaping holes on the west side.
Neighbors helping each other as city seeks to recover
The Mississippi Press
GAUTIER — City hall remains relatively quiet during the day as police, city workers and
officials stay on the roads combing through and
clearing debris, helping people in distress and
doing whatever they can to pick up and move on
after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.
At night, the building serves as a cool haven of
rest for the weary city workers seeking a few
hours of sleep.
Many workers lost their homes in Katrina.
But they’ve put their lives on hold in an effort to
bring some order from the chaos Katrina created.
According to Johnny May, head of road
cleanup, all the main roads in Gautier had been
cleared by Tuesday night. However, on side roads,
crews still work to clear debris in subdivisions.
Residents have been helping each other clear
up their neighborhoods, May said.
“The citizens have been overwhelmingly nice,”
May said.
One of the biggest concerns has been natural
gas leaks around the city. May asked residents to
turn off the gas to their houses, if they can. City
officials are working to resolve the problem.
Also, residents should shut off water if they
can, especially if they are not going to be in their
homes. This will allow an increase in water pressure for their neighbors.
May and his crews work door-to-door, shutting
off their water to empty homes.
The fire department has issued a “no burn
ban” for all of Gautier and stress the importance of obeying that policy.
Charlie Vyles with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources said most of the 20
DMR officers in the field suffered damage to
their personal homes. Six teams with 15 mem-
bers each from the Florida Fish and Wildlife
Conservation Commission have joined with Mississippi DMR personnel to rescue anyone stuck
in rubble, or bring out bodies of those killed in the
“These guys have been an incredible help to
us,” Vyles said of the teams from Florida, which
are staying the Gautier High School.
Capt. Daryl Amerson from Florida stressed
they are not in the area to take over rescue
efforts, but to “assist the people of Mississippi,”
and are prepared to stay as long as needed.
Teams are stretched from Harrison County to the
Alabama state line.
“What’s made it more difficult for us is we’re
not familiar with the area. There’s not a lot of
maps available,” said Lt. George Wilson with
the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. For the Florida employees, Katrina is
their sixth hurricane in a year.
Wilson said they have had many reports of
people trapped or bodies found, but many of
those have turned out to be false.
“The rumors tend to spread fast and may not
be accurate,” Wilson said.
He said the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)
teams will be doing door-to- door checks in areas
where great damage was received. As soon as
supplies — food, water and ice — arrive, teams
will deliver to residents stranded without transportation in battered homes.
“Patience is going to be a big thing. We’re coming. Somebody’s coming,” Vyles said.
Soon after arriving in Gautier, Central Task
Force 4 from Orlando, Fla., was already searching the remains of homes in South Gautier
demolished by Katrina. Dogs trained to find
humans who trapped under debris are also being
used in the search.
According to Capt. Mike Dickens, their team
is made up of 32 members and they were expecting another team of 32 Wednesday night. More
teams were in New Orleans, and they will work
their way in toward each other.
“We’ll be in search-and-rescue mode for several
days,” said Dickens. He said that people who return
and find a big orange “X” painted on their home will
know that teams have searched their homes.
“Don’t get alarmed,” he said. “The good guys
have been here.”
Singing River Mall provides central location for much-needed supplies
The Mississippi Press
GAUTIER — Cars encircled the
Singing River Mall, as hot and weary
people waited under the August sun
Wednesday for the first shipment of
Gautier has not received new shipments of ice and officials do not know
if — or when — it will come, City
Manager Christy Wheeler said
The Salvation Army arrived
Wednesday afternoon with some food.
Volunteers evacuated to Mobile and
returned to find their homes demolished, as well as damage to the local
Salvation Army office. They loaded
up what food they had anddistributed it in the Jerry Lee’s grocery
store parking lot. More food will be
coming soon.
Georgia Power crews are working
to restore service in the area.
“The thing that has been so hampering is communication,” Wheeler
said. Gautier officials have had difficulty reaching Mississippi and federal emergency management officials
and thre Jackson County Emergency
Operations Center.
“The people that are here are working hard to get things done that need
to get done. People just keep doing
good things,” Wheeler said.
Ocean Springs residents seek help
in recovery from Hurricane Katrina
Coast prep football action
possibly a no-go for Friday
Vol. 159 — No. 244, 12 pages
In Ocean Springs, help is on the way
The Mississippi Press
William Colign/The Mississippi Press
Jackson County residents lined up for hours at Broome’s Gas Station on Washington Avenue in Ocean Springs Wednesday morning,
even though the station has no gas or power.
William Colign/The Mississippi Press
Bob Wilson, 84, of Ocean Springs, left, waits in line at Broome’s Grocery Store on Government Street in Ocean Springs Wednesday
morning. The grocery store will be open Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
OCEAN SPRINGS — Residents are
going to have to hold out a little
longer; help is just beginning to arrive
in Ocean Springs.
The police department secured aid
before the Red Cross and Federal
Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA) aid and supplies could be
coordinated for the city.
National Guardsmen, professional
search-and-rescue personnel from
Fairfax, Va., a search-and-rescue
squad from Hillsborough County, Fla.;
Escambia County, Ala., sheriff ’s
department; and a Flomaton, Ala.,
fire department have all contributed
reserves, according to Ocean Springs
Police Chief Kerry Belk.
The extra manpower will be used
for law enforcement operations, such
as traffic control and looting prevention. They will also be used in searchand-rescue efforts.
“We’re continuing the search effort
until we’ve exhausted all reserves
available to us,” Belk said. “Our aim is
to hopefully locate any survivors and
also find any persons who have been
So far, there has only been one
death confirmed within the city limits
of Ocean Springs as a result of the
storm. The single fatality was near
the East Beach area and two deaths
are being questioned as a heart attack
and terminal cancer, Belk said.
“Rumors are rampant,” Belk said
about the death count. “There is one
confirmed death as a result of the
storm and we’re still searching.”
As for survivors, many are harboring at the Ocean Springs Middle
School, which is being used by the
city as a secondary emergency operations center.
“We’re at maximum capacity,” said
OSMS principal and Ward 4 Alderman Greg Denyer, who is supervising the school. Some 250 people are
currently taking refuge there, Denyer
School District Superintendent
Anna Hurt, who was also supervising the school, called it a “last-resort
“These people are finding the worstcase scenario when they go home,”
Hurt said. “These people found nothing.”
The school’s wide main hall was
lined with people — mostly families,
many with pets — camped out on
Shane and Dianna Babcock are
staying at the school with their two
children. Their home in Gautier was
“It’s gone, it’s demolished,” Dianna
Babcock said. “Our roof is in our
neighbor’s yard.”
Donna Babcock’s mother’s home in
Gulf Park Estates in Ocean Springs
was flooded, so the couple hunkered
down up at OSMS.
Dianna’s brother and sister-in-law,
Gary and Melinda Lambert, were also
at the school with their dog. They
don’t know where home is, only that it
used to be in Gulf Park Estates.
“Our trailer is destroyed,” Gary
Lambert said. “I don’t know where it
is, only that it’s been destroyed.”
Lambert is trying to find some work
to help replace his home. He’s even
acquired a business card of a roofer
who needs help in Lucedale.
Christy Pritchett/The Mississippi Press
Debris litters surrounding yards and pavement on Ladnier Road in Gautier as residence try to pick up the pieces and start again.
Christy Pritchett/The Mississippi Press
Various types of debris lie on and along the railroad tracks in Gautier at Graveline Road. A barge can be seen in the background of the photo.
Friday night
football takes
a backseat
The Mississippi Press
Christy Pritchett/The Mississippi Press
"We don't even know where to start" says Becky Venus as she cleans out her overturned refrigerator while her husband
Steve collects china from their kitchen in their newly-built home on Ladnier Road. The Venus' only lived in their home for
three months before Katrina struck.
Christy Pritchett/The Mississippi Press
A section of roof lies against a tree in Gautier. Pilings where the home once stood can be seen in the background.
Last Friday kicked off the 2005 football season in
Mississippi, but Monday’s strike of Hurricane Katrina has put a big halt to action this week.
All nine schools in The Mississippi Press coverage
area were set to be in action and six games involving
those teams may be cancelled or postponed until
season’s end.
“We probably won’t make a decision until Friday
on most of the games, but the teams on the Coast
probably will be forced to reschedule or cancel
games,” Mississippi High School Activities Association director Ennis Proctor said Tuesday in a release.
“Schools in the northern part of the state may play,
but we are in a wait-and-see process.”
Among the games on the Coast which have taken
a backseat to Hurricane Katrina’s wrath, includes
one of Mississippi’s marquee prep matchups.
South Panola, the No. 1 team in 5A in the state, was
scheduled to come calling to Dantzler Stadium Friday
night to take on the No. 8 Moss Point Tigers. The
game between the two teams may be moved to a later date or may even be cancelled this season.
East Central was set to travel to War Memorial
Stadium Friday night to tangle with Pascagoula,
Gautier was to travel to Ocean Springs, Vancleave
was set to visit Bay High, St. Martin was to go on the
road to Long Beach and George County was set to
travel to No. 3 Greene County.
The annual rivarly game between the Rebels and
Wildcats could be played if damage in Leakesville
was not as severe as that suffered on the Coast.
Proctor also said Mississippi may have a good
measuring stick for a week like this. Alabama faced
a similiar challenge last year when Hurricane Ivan
struck the Coast and moved through the state.
“Alabama was forced last year to move some
games to the end of the season, and bump back the
playoffs a week,” Proctor said. “If we are unable to
get games played on Friday, then we may be doing
something similiar. Most of the games this week
for 5A, 4A, 3A and 2A are non-region games, but
some 1A schools are in region play, so we will have to
wait and see.”
It was unknown as of Wednesday if the Mississippi
Private School Association would continue with
games this week as well.
It is also not know of damage suffered to some of
the stadiums around the area, or how long it may
take for repairs.
Reporter JR Wittner can be reached at [email protected] or (251) 219-5551.
William Colgin/The Mississippi Press
A photo of the late John Paul II rests among the rubble of a Lemoyne Boulevard home in St. Martin. Some of Hurricane Katrina’s worst destruction was
reserved for this west Jackson County community.
“These people are finding
the worst-case scenario
when they go home.
These people found nothing.”
— Anna Hurt, Superintendent,
Ocean Springs School District
Christy Pritchett/The Mississippi Press
Residents wait in line for a comforting hot meal from the “yellow hats,” a group of volunteers from the Southern
Baptist Convention’s Georgia Disaster Relief. The group of about 20 volunteers will be serving hot meals from 11
a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Pascagoula.
William Colgin/The Mississippi Press
Rubble and mud are all that is left in this Sundown
Avenue neighborhood in St. Martin following Hurricane
Katrina’s strike.
Clair Byrd/The Mississippi Press
Clair Byrd/The Mississippi Press
An automotive shop on Lemoyne Boulevard in St. Martin warns potential looters of
deadly consequences awaiting them if they attempt to burglarize the store.
A resident of the Belmont Apartment complex on Lemoyne Boulevard in St. Martin
pleas for help from passing motorists.
Christy Pritchett/The Mississippi Press
A teddy bear sits on the front porch of a home in Gautier that was demolished during Hurricane Katrina.
Major developments
in the aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina
By The Associated Press
— New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin says Hurricane Katrina probably killed thousands of people _ an estimate that, if accurate, would make the storm the
nation's deadliest natural disaster since at least the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.
—Bodies are starting to pile up at the morgue in Mississippi's Harrison County, with 40 corpses having been brought there already. Authorities have said the
final death toll in the county will end up well above 100.
—Health and Human Services Department declares a public health emergency, sends medical supplies, hospital beds and public health officers.
— Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco asks the White House to send more people
to help with evacuations and rescues, thereby freeing up National Guardsmen to
stop out-of-control looters.
— The New Orleans mayor calls the police force off search-and-rescue missions
and orders them to stop looters instead. As the looting turned increasingly violent, police say a man fatally shot his sister in the head over a bag of ice in Hattiesburg, Miss.
— An exodus from the Superdome began as the first of nearly 25,000 refugees
left the football stadium to be transported in a caravan of buses to the Astrodome
in Houston, 350 miles away.
— Pentagon mounts one of largest search-and-rescue operations in U.S. history,
sending four Navy ships with drinking water and other emergency supplies. A
hospital ship, search helicopters and elite SEAL water-rescue teams also are being
— American Red Cross workers from across the country converge on the devastated region in the agency's biggest-ever relief operation.
— State officials and the Army Corps of Engineers said the water levels
between the city and Lake Pontchartrain have equalized. Water has stopped rising in New Orleans, and even appeared to be falling, at least in some places.
— The Army Corps of Engineers says it plans to use helicopters to drop
20,000-pound sandbags into a 500-foot gap in a failed floodwall.
— Five offshore Louisiana oil rigs are reported missing and two more adrift in
the Gulf of Mexico.
— Gasoline prices surge above $3 a gallon in many parts of the country and
shortages crop up in some areas as supply disruptions from Katrina widen.
— In Washington, the Bush administration decides to release crude oil from federal petroleum reserves to help refiners whose supply was disrupted by Katrina.
The announcement helped push oil prices lower.
Ocean Springs
From Page 4-B
“I’m just going to scrape by and be
patient,” if he couldn’t land a job, he
said. “But I’m just going to stay put,
I’ll just be in the way.”
Civil Defense Director and Fire Chief
Mark Hare believes that is the advice
everyone should heed.
“We strongly ask that because infrastructure needs to be repaired, roads
need to be clear for operational vehicles,” Hare said. “Please resist driving
Hare said the city will soon be receiving aid and supplies from FEMA and
Red Cross, but locations and times are
still unknown.
“Water and ice delivery problems are
being corrected and resources continue
to flood the area,” he said.
Since traffic lights are not operational
due to the widespread power outages,
the police department has placed barricades at certain locations to help the
flow of traffic.
Washington Avenue at U.S. 90 is
closed to westbound traffic and Ocean
Springs Road at U.S. 90 is closed to
north and south bound traffic. Bristol
Boulevard, Bechtel Boulevard, Vermont
Avenue and Hanshaw Road are all open
for north and south bound crossing traffic.
For information on missing persons,
call (228) 769-3107. Serious inquiries
will only be accepted and the name of
the person missing, a description, their
last-known location and a return contact should be provided.
Reporter Clair Byrd can be reached at
(251) 219-5551.
Christy Pritchett/The Mississippi Press
Debris lines the yard right up to the steps of the Old Place in Gautier. The historic home did not
take in any water during Hurricane Katrina.

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