[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/03/art.vert.waveland.mayor.tommy.longo.jpg caption="Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo" width=292 height=320]
Mayor Tommy Longo
August 28, 2005, Waveland was the fastest growing community in Mississippi.
On August 29, 2005 Hurricane Katrina chose Waveland as ground zero, slamming her with 40 plus feet of tidal surge and battering us with hurricane force winds for more than 12 hours. The result changed lives forever. Ninety-five percent of residential structures were destroyed. One hundred percent of water sewer, gas... destroyed. All 13 City buildings were destroyed. Our three story Historic City Hall, built in 1850, was reduced to a slab.
In essence life ceased to exist as we knew it and our beautiful town was covered in a 15-foot debris field.
Yet during the height of the hurricane, leaders rose to the occasion. Heroes were born and miracles experienced. Twenty Police Officers lashed themselves on top of a tree, taking care of the exhausted and those who couldn’t swim.
We housed seniors and patients with heart conditions on the top of the wastewater plant... We rescued two seniors trapped in an elevator by chopping through a brick wall, saving them before floodwaters could claim them as victims.
First Responders lost everything, professionally and personally, yet remained on the job serving the Community, even to this day.
We as a town lived in our State Park... in FEMA trailers for the first year.
City Hall was a tent, then Quonset hut, and now a complex of trailers.
We have already had to spend $60 million dollars to replace water, gas and sewer... and we are approximately fifty percent complete.
We will break ground this week to rebuild our Housing Authority with the first 80 Senior units being built, and within six months we hope to break ground on all municipal buildings including City Hall, Courts, Fire Stations, Library, and Police Complex.
Has it been tough? You bet! With the help of many volunteers, faith based organizations, sister cities and numerous friends from around the country it has been much easier. And it’s been great for our residents to be remembered.
Many of our citizens are still hurting and we all have a long way to go.
No Mayor could be more proud of his employees or his citizens. They have had a tough fight. Yet each day we go to work restoring the City and restoring lives. Each day we make a little more progress rising above the storm named “Katrina”.
God bless you and remember Waveland in your thoughts and prayers.
Filed under: Hurricane Katrina
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