By: E&P Staff
Stan Tiner, newspaper veteran and current editor of the Sun Herald in hurricane-savaged Biloxi, Miss., posted a column on his newspaper’s Web site today. His newspaper has managed to keep publishing a print edition, via Georgia, and has maintained an active Web site through must of the disaster.
Here is his column:
“Generations of Mississippi Coast dwellers have enjoyed their piece of paradise with a certain enthusiastic embrace of the good life that is a part of our heritage. The good times have rolled through the decades with a party that never quite ends fueled in more recent times with the glitz of electric lit rows of casinos and a booming economy.
“All of this existed in the shadow of the memory of Camille, the 1969 storm whose deadly visit devastated much of the Coast, but which also defined the Coast?s gritty spirit.
“In all of the years since we have waited and watched for the ‘next Camille.”‘ This was the benchmark against which all other storms were measured, and thankfully none that came ever did measure up. Those whose homes survived Camille lived with a sense of confidence that they were somehow safe, indemnified against the future and all of those lesser storms which came and went every year or two.
“But in the back of our collective minds there was a nagging feeling, a fear really, that at some time another storm would come that was the equal of or even worse than Camille.
“Monday, August 29, 2005, our worst fears were realized. Katrina came and smashed South Mississippi with a fury which utterly devastated the Coast, leaving an indelible memory which will never be forgotten.
“The grim statistics will take weeks to tally, but a Sun Herald reporter captured the situation very well late Monday when he said: ‘It would be easier for me to list the places that are undamaged than to list those that are damaged.'”