Jackson Co. leaders reflect on Hurricane Katrina

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The images of the damage from Irene have many leaders in Jackson County recounting the horror of Hurricane Katrina six years ago. They said the storm destroyed so much, the county has continued to grow stronger

When Jackson County Board of Supervisors President Melton Harris heard about Irene, he began praying for East Coast leaders, citizens, and, most of all, his daughter who lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

"You pray that no will have to go through what you have experienced," Harris said.

Harris said while his daughter was fortunately spared from Irene's fury, Jackson County wasn't so lucky when Katrina hit.

"That was something we hope we see never see again," Harris said.

Supervisor John McKay said he watched as Katrina knocked out power and washed out buildings.

"The courthouse was flooded, the sheriff's department was flooded, and the civil defense department, where we stayed, part of the roof was torn off," McKay said.

The men said thanks to millions and millions of federal dollars, the county was able to do a lot of remodeling and rebuilding.

"We were able to combine county money with FEMA and build a hurricane community center, and we have three hurricane shelters going up through the county," McKay said.

A state-of-the-art health department and harbor house also recently reopened to the public.

"The idea is to build better than you were before than when the hurricane struck," Harris said.

For the first time ever, the county will soon house more than 10 departments and its employees in a new county services complex.

"It is elevated above the flood plain, and it can withstand 160 mile per hour winds," Harris said. If we have a hurricane such as Katrina, we will not be brought down to our knees."

The county leaders said they have great hurricane advice for leaders on the East Coast.

"Work together," McKay said.

County officials said there are at least 10 major post-Katrina projects that are still on the to-do-list.

 Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.