Looking Back Katrina’s 9th Anniversary: Bay St. Louis & Waveland

In recognition of the 9th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina this week we feature some images from the Mississippi Heritage Trust Hurricane Katrina page along with images uploaded to the MDAH HRI database.  These files relate to the coastal towns in the month immediately following hurricane Katrina.  Included in these files were written documents such as letters, engineering assessments, and various agencies’ damage survey forms.  In total we will cover over fifty miles–a small portion of Katrina’s wrath–of continuous destruction and heartbreak. These images will give us hope with what heroic efforts have been made towards recovery, remind us of what was senselessly lost, and prepare us with lessons for future preservation disasters.

Today we look back at what Bay St. Louis looked like 9 years ago.

Images of 222 (Above) and 502 (Below) North Beach Blvd. were the first photos of Bay St. Louis I remember seeing after the storm. They would end up representing the two sides of recovery- Restoration (as can be seen in the 2009 photo above) and Demolition (below).

Not all the buildings with post storm assessments are water from buildings such as this craftsman cottage on Main Street.

This house had about 5 feet of water on the interior. The wind damage to the roof left an interesting pattern in the shingles. Just remember don’t skimp on the nails when installing shingles!

Other buildings on Main Street such as the Magnolia Supply Building (below) looked like goners…

…but were beautifully restored.  Other buildings that look fine (First Baptist Church) were demolished anyways.

Three is an extensive file on the Merchants Bank Building. Despite a plan to save it the building was demolished.

Among the few remaining structures in Waveland the Waveland School MDAH HRI db has the scan of a Traditional Masonry magazine article about the first phase of the buildings recovery.

No matter where you are, if you have a place you care for get out there this weekend.  Take its picture, visit with its neighbors.  You never know how long it will be around for.


This post is part of a week long series commemorating the 9th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  You can view other posts from this week by clicking the links below.

Pascagoula & Ocean Springs

Sullivan Charnley Historic District

Biloxi & Gulfport

Long Beach & Pass Christian


Categories: Banks, Bay St. Louis, Churches, Demolition/Abandonment, Gulf Coast, Historic Preservation, Hurricane Katrina, Lost Mississippi, MS Dept. of Archives and History, Preservation People/Events, Renovation Projects, Schools, Waveland


5 replies

  1. Thanks for this week’s series. It’s brought back a flood of memories of that difficult time but also shows the comeback stories that reflect well on the Coast and its determined preservationists.


    • You’re welcome. You’re absolutely correct about the flood of memories and emotions. The amazing restorations that would have never happened if it were not because of Katrina are unexpected blessings. The buildings that were taken by the storm have been difficult to lose but I’ve come to accept their loss. The buildings and places I still have difficulty over losing are the ones needlessly demolished in the name of “progress” after the storm and the fact that as tax payers you and I funded their destruction still makes me irate.


  2. 222 was Tante Quit Gex’s house which was later owned by Dot Phillips. Dot was the perfect beach owner, always leaving the floors uncovered so her grandchildren could bring sand in off the beach without being fussed at. That restoration is superb, but so
    many lovely places gone.


    • It really is telling of the character of an owner that could see their home or business look like that after the storm and have the fortitude to take the project on. While the projects are difficult, being completed under trying circumstances, the results benefit the owner and the community tenfold.


  3. Thank you for putting these together; they were a poignant reminder of the fury of Katrina. I had to watch via television from afar and it was painful. So much was lost, but, each place that was saved is a living testament to human determination.


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