1974 - Camille Recovery Article. Wade Guice Quote "....get the hell out" - Tom Malmay

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1974 - Camille Recovery Article. Wade Guice Quote "....get the hell out" - Tom Malmay - E d i t o r ' s n o l e : F o r m e r UPI s t a...
E d i t o r ' s n o l e : F o r m e r UPI s t a l l .corrtipcmdenl Nancl C. Albrillan was one ol thousands who lied their homes during Hurricane Camille live years ago, Aug. -1M«, 1945, She recalls Ihe brutal storm and the massive rebuilding program In this .special report lor UPI. " ' By NANCI C. ALBRITTON GULFPORT, Miss. (UPI) -- Paul Williams' dozen youngsters played near midnight in the shelter of a small church auditorium in Pass Christian near Gulfporl while outside the killer winds of Hurricane Camille lashed the Mississippi Gulf Coast five years ago. ;,The black church sexton and his family--along with hundreds of other -coast residents including my own family-- thought they were safe. They had braved other bad storms. But in an angry burst of fury, Camille sent a crushing flood of water high across the coastline, forcing my family arfd hundreds of others out of our homes and shelters and into the swirling seawater. My parents and I struggled for what seemed an eternity against the waters and 200-mile an-hour winds until we took refuge in a vacant, unflooded house. At the church, 16 members of the Williams family, including two grandchildren, clung desperately to the building's rafters. At dawn we were numbed by the carnage. Thousands of homes and businesses were smashed, twisted, or had vanished. The bodies of 144 persons were found in the staggering piles of debris that choked the three counties of coastal Mississippi. The victims included Williams' wife, Myrtle, 10 of their children and their two grandchildren. Also dead were 23 residents of a Pass Christian beachfront apartment complex who had refused orders to evacuate and instead held a ' 'hurricane party". Camilla's violence did not end with the Gulf Coast. Churning northward, the storm unleashed another attack on West Virginia and V rgiilia, triggering flash flooding that left at least 150 others dead and hundreds of millios of dollars of destruction. In all, officials counted 248 dead and $1.5 billion in damages. The National Weather Service' laler described Camille as "one of the most intense storms in recorded North Atlantic tropical cyclone history." "My wife wanted all of us to be together during the storm," Williams recalled this week. "So we went up to the church three blocks from our home." Williams later learned that about 600 other Pass Christian residents sheltered in a school halt block from his Trinity Episcopal Church had survived. When the hurricane struck, the Gulf Coast was a booming tourist mecca. After the storm stately old homes and Annie's Restaurant in Henderson Point 'after Camille 1 Pholoby Sea Coast Eclio dozens of motels fronting the Gulf of Mexico were either washed from their foundations or gutted by the 22-foot tides. Huge hunks of highway concrete lay stacked like dominoes. Tons of debris blocked most roads and automobile traffic was virtually impossible. Communications lines were down, d r i n k i n g water was contaminated, and there was no electricity or natural gas. Massive relief efforls began when the winds subsided. Safe water was sent in from New Orleans, and the Red Cross began serving the first of nearly 500,000 meals to storm refugees in shelters. The grim search of Ihe rubble for victims, which lasted weeks, was undertaken by hundreds of volunteers. Makeshift morgues were set up in the stifling August heat so families and friends could identify the dead. Harrison County Civil Defense Director Wade Guice, who had spearheaded efforts hours before the storm to evacuate residents, remembers vividly the problems after the destruction in caring for the thousands who did not leave. "I hope that if we ever have another storm that people will get the hell out of town," Guice said. "I believe they would be more inclined to leave if another storm comes--it was worse than war." Tons of medical, clothing and food supplies donated by communities throughout the country poured into the seven devastated Gulf Coasl cities. Medical teams stationed in neighborhoods gave hundreds of immunizations to prevent outbreaks of disease. Scores of federal, state and local agencies joined together to tackle the rebuilding job, spending millions of dollars to repair roadways, homes, shops, city halls, and water and sewage Photo bv Sea Coasl Echo Remains of apartment house where 23 people died systems. More than 5,000 mobile homes provided by (he federal government rolled in to provide long-term housing. An unidentified resident in the hard- hit town of Long Beach planted an American flag in the debris of his home in the days after the storm and local residents quickly adopted the banner as ^: ·---i'-?/ PATH OF HURRICANE CAMILLE their symbol of determination. Today there arc still three unmarked graves of unidentified victims as silent reminders, bat (here is little oilier outward evidence that H u r r i c a n e Camille ever battered the area--unless the gleam of new construction is a giveaway. The tourist industry is strong; US is tangled with traffic daily. Baricev's restaurant in Biloxi and Annie's in Christian--both demolished by the hurricane waters-- are open again, serving Gulf shrimp and oysters to capacity crowds. Pass Christian Mayor Steve Saucier has offices in the new brick City Hall overlooking an equally new small-craft harbor. "We've made lots of progress and gained a lot, even though there are some things that will never be replaced, like the old homes and the big live oaks," Saucier said. Time references are still "before Camille" and "after Camille,' although the storm is not discussed often anymore. Paul Williams is still sexton a Trinity, the church rebuilt almos exactly as it was before Camille. ": miss my children so much and my wife," Williams said. "But I don't let worry me because it's done." lie doesn't think much about what would do if another hurricane came. "I'm not worried about an; hurricanes," he said. "1 would just soon slay home--I'm not afraid o them." FOR BACK TO SCHOOL FOR BACK TO FALL

Clipped from
  1. The Delta Democrat-Times,
  2. 18 Aug 1974, Sun,
  3. Page 3

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  • 1974 - Camille Recovery Article. Wade Guice Quote "....get the hell out" - Tom Malmay

    Tom_Malmay – 08 Sep 2013

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