PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - On August 29th, 2013 in Pass Christian Mississippi, the water is like glass with not a cloud in the sky. It's a stark difference from this day eight years ago when Hurricane Katrina almost wiped this historic town off the map.
"The complete, absolute devastation," Mayor Chipper McDermott remembered. "The question was, 'Are we even going to be able to come back?'"
Mayor McDermott said every single public building, school and church was destroyed or severely damaged. They have replaced almost all of them now, and have many exciting projects like the harbor expansion project.
"But there's some things that we lost that we can never get back," McDermott said.
Their greatest loss was 24 of their Pass Christian brothers and sisters who did not survive that merciless storm. A bell tolled for each name read aloud during a touching service in War Memorial Park. That's where the Katrina monument was erected five years ago by citizens like Connie Jenkins.
"It was important that we have something up there because of what we have been through," Jenkins said. "A lot of people had been through Camille, but this was closer. This was Katrina. It was, it was, so brutal."
And so painful for those who loved the people with their names now etched in this stone. No one knows who does it, but every year, signs of that continued sorrow appear at this now sacred place.
"And so now every year at this time, on the 29th, you can go over there and there will be at least three long stem red roses there," said Jenkins, who has no idea from where the roses came.
The Katrina memorial was built with donations from people as far away as California.