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Hurricane KatrinaHurricane Katrina

The Mississippi Story

James Patterson Smith

Narrated by Claton Butcher

Available from Audible

Book published by University Press of Mississippi

The definitive Mississippi account of the greatest natural disaster in American history.

Hurricane Katrina: The Mississippi Story presents the fullest account yet written of the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Rooted in a wealth of oral histories and other primary sources, it tells the dramatic but underreported story of a people who confronted unprecedented devastation. Katrina destroyed sixty-five thousand homes when its eye wall and powerful northeast quadrant swept a record thirty-foot storm surge across a seventy-five-mile stretch of unprotected Mississippi towns and cities.

James Patterson Smith takes us through life and death accounts from August 29, 2005, and the precarious days of food and water shortages that followed. Along the way the narrative inspires with episodes of neighborly compassion, creative responses, and the six-year struggle to rebuild after the greatest natural disaster in American history.

Heroes of this saga are the local people and municipal officials. In often moving terms, the book addresses the Mississippi Gulf Coast's arduous tasks handling a record-setting volume of debris and rebuilding of homes, schools, businesses, and public infrastructure. From a grassroots perspective the narrative offers insights into the politics of recovery funding and the bureaucratic bungling and hubris that hampered the storm response and complicated and delayed the work of recovery. Still, there are many examples of things done well and a stirring chapter that bears witness to the psychological, spiritual, and material impact of the eight hundred thousand people from across the nation who gave of themselves as volunteers in the Mississippi recovery effort.

James Patterson Smith , Gulfport, Mississippi, is professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast campus. He is the coauthor of Gilbert Mason's Beaches, Blood, and Ballots: A Black Doctor's Civil Rights Struggle.


“Finally, the much needed and long-untold story of a resilient society! Professor Smith provides a compelling narrative of the triumphs of the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast over the greatest natural disaster in America's history and the bureaucratic incompetence that accompanied it. Required reading for everyone wishing to know more about the resilience inherent in the American character.”

—Major General Warren C. Edwards, Executive Director of the Community and Regional Resilience Institute (CARRI)

“In Hurricane Katrina: The Mississippi Story, James Patterson Smith explores how the massive storm of 2005 impacted coastal Mississippi. Because of the catastrophic events caused by Katrina in nearby New Orleans, the destruction wrought in south Mississippi, where the hurricane actually made landfall, has often been overlooked. In addition to recounting the depth of the natural disaster in Mississippi, Smith illustrates how south Mississippians persevered to rebuild their communities and their lives in the storm's aftermath.”

—Charles C. Bolton, author of The Hardest Deal of All: The Battle over School Integration in Mississippi, 1870-1980

“James Patterson Smith's Hurricane Katrina: The Mississippi Story is a brilliantly researched and exhaustive look at the hammering that the Magnolia State endured in 2005 by a hurricane-from-hell. Poor Mississippi took the brunt of Katrina head-on. Communities like Waveland, Bay St. Louis, and Gulfport were destroyed. Smith now emerges as our great chronicler of the dislocation and mayhem. Highly recommended!”

—Douglas Brinkley, author of The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast

All titles are published by:
University Press Audiobooks
an imprint of Redwood Audiobooks

University Press Audiobooks