Hurricane Camille Victims Honored With New Memorial - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

08/17/03

Hurricane Camille Victims Honored With New Memorial

Elmer Lawrence Nelson. Jesse Lucinda Nelson. Nyme Joseph Newman. Willie James Norman.

These are the names of only a few of the 172 people honored Sunday afternoon at the new Hurricane Camille Memorial at Church of the Redeemer in Biloxi.

A small group gathered to pray for and honor those victims of a storm many will never forget.

"I was spending the weekend with my family over at our home in Pass Christian, thinking that it was gonna hit Destin in some area around there, but when I got up the next morning to take his two little boys to Sunday School, I turned on the TV and it said it had changed courses and was gonna hit Pass Christian full force," said Gulfport resident Mary Batchelor.

The National Hurricane Center estimates Camille sustained winds of 190 miles per hour with gusts ranging from 210 to 220 miles per hour.

The storm produced the highest hurricane tidal surge ever recorded in the United States...at least 25 feet above sea level.

From Alabama to Louisiana, it's estimated that 255 people were killed, 8,900 injured, and 50 to 75 people were never found.

The total damage from Camille was over 4 billion dollars - all within a matter of hours.

"All electricity was out for about 2 to 3 weeks. I remember standing in line for ice. Ice was a valued commodity. A lot of snakes so it was a lot of heat, sand, horse flies, but it was a time of trial but the people came together and rebuilt the coast and made it bigger and better than it's ever been," said Jim Batchelor.

And through the new memorial, people can continue to come together to pay tribute to those who never got to see the calm after the storm.

"I think it's a very fine memorial and a real tribute to a lot of unfortunate souls who were lost by Hurricane Camille. We lost many of them in Biloxi, in Gulfport, Pass Christian, Bay St. Louis..all of them down the coast. And the lady in Bay St. Louis who prepared it did a really good job I think," said former Biloxi mayor Danny Guice.

The memorial was built to honor the victims, as well as to remind people that hurricanes can be a destructive and life-threatening force.

By Karla Redditte

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