Katrina victims names added to MS memorial

Published: Aug. 19, 2010 at 9:47 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 19, 2010 at 10:11 PM CDT
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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - As we approach the fifth anniversary of their deaths, South Mississippi's Hurricane Katrina victims are being honored in a way to make sure their lives are never forgotten. On Thursday, workers put the names of the dead and missing onto the Katrina Memorial in Biloxi.

Grains of sand etched a permanent reminder of how on August 29th, 173 people died or were never found. Among the names of South MS's Katrina dead, are four of Doug DeSilvey's family members.

"It helps add the closure," said DeSilvey. "The completion of an effort to establish all the people that lost their lives on the Mississippi Gulf Coast."

Architect Dennis Cowart created the design that ABC's Extreme Makeover- Home Edition used to build the Katrina memorial the year after the hurricane devastated the coast.

"When we designed the wall originally, we knew that the names were going to be added later,"said Cowart. "So what we thought when we did that is that we would do the wall, the black granite wall in a series of tiles."

Rarely a day goes by that people don't stop at the Biloxi Town Green to reflect on what happened to the coast five years ago.

DeSilvey said, "When guests come into the Mississippi Gulf Coast, this is one of the things that they come here to see so now they'll have some identification to learn."

"It makes you realize there's a story. Behind every name on that wall there's a story of a person's life and people whose lives have been affected because that person is gone," said Coward. "I think the names being next to this box with the collected artifacts that people brought. Things that they brought were relics from their homes and their lives from the storm> just puts it in perspective that these storms affect people's lives in a profound way. and these memorials are way for us to deal with that."

Biloxi officials say the city is paying $14,000 for the work on the Katrina memorial.

Meanwhile plans are underway to make a few upgrades to the Katrina Memorial. this glass case is a montage of items telling the storm stories of many coast residents.

Roy Anderson Corporation officials say condensation and sunlight are taking its toll on the time capsule display causing photos to fade and other damage. To help solve the problems, workers will install solar powered ventilation fans and coat the glass with a special film to cut down damage on the sun's ultra violet rays.

Roy Anderson officials say they will also be repairing stucco and lighting around the monument.

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