Ray Parrish was taking a late lunch when he spotted the smoke. He just happened to be around at the right time with the right tools.
"I take a lot of photos because of my job, so I usually keep my camera with me most of the time," says Ray Parrish of Grand Bay, Alabama.
Parrish took some 3,000 pictures during Katrina. He has had pictures published in books, but he says he's never thought about sending pictures in to WLOX until Thursday.
"I had a customer who came in my shop, and I showed him the photos and the first thing they said is, 'Wow, you need to send those in to WLOX.' They were excited about it and they got me excited about it. So I said, 'I guess I'll send them in,'" says Parrish.
Like Parrish, Darrin Johnson wasn't exactly thinking news when he saw the billowing column of smoke.
"I thought it'd be something to go back to work and show people anyway. At the time, I wasn't thinking I'll send this to the news or anything," says Darrin Johnson of Pass Christian.
But he says Katrina, in part, has changed the way people in South Mississippi think about what could be a news making moment.
"You sort of get in that mode where you take pictures of things that are abnormal, somebody might want to see that later," says Johnson.
Although this was Parrish's first time contributing to the news process, he says it's something he wouldn't mind doing again.
"If they can use it, I'll send it," says Parrish.
"It just seems so much more immediate this way. When you get a chance to do this kind of thing or see other people doing this kind of thing, you kind of realize that news is happening all the time every minute of every day and there's always somebody there who can catch it," says Johnson.