LONG BEACH, MS (WLOX) - Former Governor Haley Barbour was the keynote speaker Friday at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Park campus in Long Beach for Overlooking Katrina, 10 Years of Progress.
Before a crowd of about 200 people, including some too young to remember the hurricane, Barbour pulled no punches when describing the impact of Katrina.
"It's like the right cross in a boxing match. And the right cross pulverized this area," Barbour recalled.
The Gulf Park campus was ripped apart by Katrina, a fact acknowledged by university president Dr. Rodney Bennett.
"I think Governor Barbour and his book and in his talk really helps us put our arms around just how vast the storm was and how detrimental it was to this coast community," Bennett said.
Former Gulfport police chief Alan Weatherford was there simply to look beyond the storm.
"It helps with the recovery and where we're at 10 years later. That's the reason I'm here this morning to be a part of this recovery," Weatherford explained.
Judy Parker, who lost her home during the storm, told WLOX News that the event was therapeutic.
"It's painful in a way that you start to remember the things that were, but it's also therapeutic because you can see how much we've come back," says Parker. "I have a new house now. It's about five years old."
Some individuals didn't live when the storm roared ashore, but moved to the area soon after.
Edmond Hughes noted, "I saw the devastation after and I think it's just important to look back and see how far we've come as a Gulf Coast."
After his speech, the former governor signed copies of his new book, "America's Great Storm", and mingled with the crowd.