South Mississippians Remember Hurricane Camille

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Sunday people all over the coast remembered the lives lost during Hurricane Camille. The storm of 1969 devastated the coast and nearly 200 people were killed or never found as a result of the storm.

Sunday afternoon there was a special service in Biloxi where there was a message within the memorial.

"It's a terrible tragedy for anyone to have to go through and no one should die in a storm," said D'Iberville City Manager, Richard Rose.

Rose and his sister Cheryl Elmore attended the annual Camille Memorial Observance at Biloxi's Church of the Redeemer. The service honors the lives lost on August 17, 1969 when Hurricane Camille shattered the Gulf Coast.

Virgil Fred Rose was one of those lives, now 39 years later, his children still remember Camille as though happened yesterday.

"I was terrified because we had never heard those words before that it was going to be a monster storm," Elmore said.

"My sister came out to the porch and she stood and screamed daddy's dead. That pierced my heart at that time and I remember just falling down and getting up and running and screaming to her," said Rose.

Decades later, The Rose family joined dozens of other community leaders to build a memorial for those who lost their lives or were never found after the storm. Now they hope the marker will serve as a constant tool to educate people of all ages so that they are prepared for the next disaster.

"We all say everytime there is a memorial service, there's no reason to build another one of these. There's no reason anyone should die in a hurricane," said Rose.

172 names are listed on the memorial wall. 39 victims were never found after Hurricane Camille. Three Pass Christian women, now known as Faith, Hope, and Charity, were never identified.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina battered the Camille Memorial. However, the community pulled together to repair the monument in time for the annual service.

Leaders at the Church of Redeemer say the structure is a place of reflection for people who endured both Camille and Katrina.

"When we built this before Katrina, I was amazed at the number of people who came. Even after it was devastated people would come and visit the memorial and that motivated us to get it resurrected," said Rev. Harold Roberts withe the Church of Redeemer.

In just 12 days, people will gather at various memorials across the coast, to remember the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.