Why Is Mississippi Offended?

As most of you know I am from Mississippi and we are being affected by Hurricane Issac. It’s ironically the 7th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I will never ever forget the devastation we suffered here on the MS Gulf Coast. The sad part is many people didn’t acknowledge Mississippi. The focus was mostly on New Orleans. I am not trying to discount what happened in NOLA but the MS Gulf Coast was heavily affectedas well. I am ranting about this because once again there’s no acknowledgement. The Weather Channel referred to us as a  land mass. WTF!! This post was written by a woman who feels exactly how I along with many other Mississippians feel.

Why is Mississippi offended?

It’s true, I was born and raised on the other side of the world.  I come from a culture that is very laid back, and in general, Aussies are not easily offended.  As an individual I’m simply not easily offended at all.  Often I do think people need to ‘chill out’ and let things roll off them, “like water off a ducks back”.    However, this time, I don’t think that at all.

When the Weather Channel, while talking about Hurricane Isaac, referred to the state of Mississippi as “that landmass between Louisiana and Alabama”, Mississippian‘s were upset, to some degree.  My first instinct would usually be to just ignore it, but let’s think about it for a minute. Is this overreacting? I don’t think so.

Many coastal towns of Mississippi were completely obliterated from Katrina. Hurricane-force winds lasted over 17 hours, spawning 11 tornadoes, 55-foot waves, and producing a 28-foot storm surge which flooded 12 miles inland.  Think about that – 12 miles from the actual shore line was underwater.

Many were unable to evacuate and only survived by climbing onto rooftops. Can you even imagine going through that?  The worst property damage from Katrina occurred on the Mississippi coast, where all towns flooded over 90%, and waves caused the destruction of many historic buildings. Taller buildings were destroyed up to the 3rd story.  Think about that for a minute.

More than one million people in Mississippi were affected by the overwhelming devastation. The Gulf Coast of Mississippi suffered almost total devastation from Hurricane Katrina on August 28–29 and caused an estimated US$125 billion in damages.

As just one example, the city of Waveland was wiped out and all that was left were concrete slabs where buildings used to be.  That’s just some of the facts and figures, but let me tell you what I saw with my own eyes.

When I first came to Mississippi back in 1997, I remember being on the coast and looking at the casinos dotted along the coastline.  They all had their flashing lights and attention grabbing casino signs offering their best deals on room rates and casino gaming.  As I stood looking at the coastline from the third story window of a coastal hotel, I made a comment that I was trying to imagine what the coast looked like, way back when.  Before people came to the area and built houses, shops, and hotels.  Before the lights and cars and before the water’s edge was dotted with floating casinos.  I was trying to imagine what it would look like, especially at night, without all the bright lights from the casinos saturating the coastline at night.

It was quite some time later when I no longer had to imagine.  I was in Biloxi, some time after Katrina – long before any recovery had occurred on the coast.  I stood and looked out over that same coastline and I could see what I had years before only imagined.  The coast was no longer lit with lights from casinos, or from anywhere.  The shoreline was dark. Nothing was left.   There was one line of lights along part of the coastal highway, the part that didn’t wash away, and only a few lights dotted here and there for miles inland.   I had seen the destruction during the daylight hours, it was immense and staggering to see.  But when I stood there and saw the darkness of the night the contrast from the saturating light that used to be there was just as sobering.

I can’t describe to you the destruction better than photos can, so I invite you to look at these photos (link below) – all of Mississippi – you know, that landmass between Louisiana and Alabama.  That landmass who suffered the most astonishing destruction, 7 years ago.  It’s painful to Mississippian’s that the media focused so much on New Orleans back then, while Mississippi looked at the overwhelming loss it suffered, seemingly ignored by the rest of the country who were being told by TV stations that the only destruction was in NOLA .  What happened in NOLA was horrible, without question, and my heart broke for the people of NOLA no less than it did for the people of all states where Katrina caused devastation.  What hurts Mississippians is that NOLA was the main focus of both media and politicians.  Mississippi set about the task of rebuilding and recovery, but it is tiring to continue, even now, 7 years later, to keep hearing from people all around the country that Mississippi was hardly touched.  That is simply staggering to hear when you know just how devastating Katrina was for Mississippi.

When people discount what happened here, it’s twisting the knife a little more.  Yes, NOLA flooded because the levies broke. I doubt there is a single Mississippian who does not feel terrible about that and feel for everyone who suffered loss from that devastating event.   But please, America, do not close your eyes to the utter destruction that other areas suffered.  Do not be led by media to believe that Mississippi was not involved.  And for heaven’s sake, DO NOT refer to Mississippi so flippantly as to call it ‘that landmass’, because THIS landmass was systematically wiped out in places by Hurricane Katrina and by God, Mississippian’s most certainly DO have a right to be offended and upset by the constant and continued discounting of their suffering. On the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, no less.

I’m Australian, I wasn’t born in Mississippi, but I have lived here for quite a number of years and although I know Mississippian’s do not need me to defend them, this is my adopted home and I certainly will stand up and defend her when necessary.

Stop perpetrating the erroneous comments that Mississippi was unaffected by Katrina.  Take a minute to look for yourself and see just how much Mississippi suffered.  Once you’re done educating yourself, and others, take a moment to consider just how tough Mississippi is – because the people of this state picked themselves, and others, up and pushed on.   Even so, that doesn’t mean it’s okay to refer to MS as ‘that landmass’, because Mississippi deserves more respect than that.

Considering the level of destruction that happened 7 years ago, it’s disrespectful and downright wrong to disregard Mississippi in such a way.  So yes, I think Mississippi does have the right to find that offensive.  I personally find it offensive that so much of the country STILL don’t realize what happened here 7 years ago.

Open your eyes, and see:

Written by Miranda Jordan, an Aussie – who lives in MS.

Feel free to ‘share’ this.  It’s time people realized what happened here.

Thank you Miranda Jordan!!



Posted on August 29, 2012, in Reveries and Rambles of Moi and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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