Hurricane Katrina
The Mississippi Story

By James Patterson Smith

272 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 25 b&w photographs, 2 maps, index

978-1-61703-023-9 Cloth $35.00T

978-1-61703-024-6 Ebook $35.00

Cloth, $35.00

Ebook 978-1-61703-024-6, $35.00

The definitive Mississippi account of the greatest natural disaster in American history

Hurricane Katrina: The Mississippi Story presents the fullest account yet written of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Rooted in a wealth of oral histories and other primary sources, it tells the dramatic but underreported story of a people who confronted unprecedented devastation. Katrina destroyed sixty-five thousand homes when its eye wall and powerful northeast quadrant swept a record thirty-foot storm surge across a seventy-five-mile stretch of unprotected Mississippi towns and cities.

James Patterson Smith takes us through life and death accounts from August 29, 2005, and the precarious days of food and water shortages that followed. Along the way the narrative inspires with episodes of neighborly compassion, creative responses, and the six-year struggle to rebuild after the greatest natural disaster in American history.

Heroes of this saga are the local people and municipal officials. In often moving terms, the book addresses the Mississippi Gulf Coast's arduous tasks handling a record-setting volume of debris and rebuilding of homes, schools, businesses, and public infrastructure. From a grassroots perspective the narrative offers insights into the politics of recovery funding and the bureaucratic bungling and hubris that hampered the storm response and complicated and delayed the work of recovery. Still, there are many examples of things done well and a stirring chapter that bears witness to the psychological, spiritual, and material impact of the eight hundred thousand people from across the nation who gave of themselves as volunteers in the Mississippi recovery effort.

James Patterson Smith, Gulfport, Mississippi, is professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast campus. He is the coauthor of Gilbert Mason's Beaches, Blood, and Ballots: A Black Doctor's Civil Rights Struggle (University Press of Mississippi).

272 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 25 b&w photographs, 2 maps, index