The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
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Collection Title: Hubbard (Bob) Hurricane Camille Photographs
Hurricane Camille began as a tropical wave off of the coast of West Africa on August 5, 1969, became a tropical depression near Grand Caymen Island by August 14, was upgraded to a hurricane over the western tip of Cuba on August 15, and struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast as a category 5 hurricane the night of August 17. She continued raging north through Mississippi and Tennessee, became a tropical depression, headed east over Kentucky and Virginia by August 19, moved off the Atlantic Coast, hit a cold front on August 22, and dissipated at sea off Newfoundland.
Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast around midnight on August 17. The entire Mississippi Gulf Coast was devastated, including the Bay St. Louis/Waveland area. In Mississippi, there were 141 reported deaths, 75,000 evacuations inland, and thousands of wild and domestic animals killed. Insects tumbled in balls through the floodwaters presenting a public health menace, 64,154 families suffered losses, 3,880 homes were destroyed, and 41,875 homes sustained major damage. Damages wrought by Camille were in excess of $950 million.
In the Bay St. Louis/Waveland area nine people were killed, the entire downtown was leveled, and like the rest of the affected areas, power was out for up to 36 days. There was no food, no water, no working telephones, no utilities, and no fuel. Housing was sparse, roads were impassable, bridges were devastated, and debris was scattered over 68 square miles. The area was placed under martial law to deter looting. Many survivors who were unable or unwilling to evacuate, told tales of horror, destruction, and miracles.
The houses and structures in Bay St. Louis located on low grounds were swept away by tidal surges and winds. Most beachfront homes, particularly those on South Beach Street were destroyed.
Historical landmarks and churches were not spared. The 200 spans on the bridge connecting Pass Christian to Bay St. Louis were askew, most of US Highway 90 was washed out, and the beach was described by Civil Defense Director, Wade Guice, as a holocaust. It was said that the Civil Defense personnel were more prepared to deal with the aftermath of nuclear war than they were the after affects of such an immense natural disaster.
It is the homes and historic landmarks in the Bay St. Louis area that this collection focuses upon as it provides insight into complete devastation as well as a glimpse into a world of post-disaster disarray. As Kat Bergeron observed in the August 13, 1989 issue of The Sun Herald, "Hurricane Camille's visit robbed the Coast of many historic landmarks....Only photographs tell their stories....".
This collection consists of 26 color photographs which depict homes and buildings of historic and social significance in the Bay St. Louis/Waveland area before and after Hurricane Camille on August 17 and 18, 1969. Photographer, Bob Hubbard of Waveland, took the photographs from approximately the same angle, using the same type of film, possibly the same roll.
This collection provides insight into the varying degrees in which the Bay St. Louis/Waveland area on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi was besieged by the storm. Photographs cut across several geographic sections of the area, both high-ground and beachfront, while also demonstrating the differing magnitudes of structural damage wrought by 24 foot tides, 10 foot waves, and 200 mile per hour winds. An understanding of havoc wrought upon nature by nature, is also demonstrated pictorially, as the storm leaves its mark on stripped pine trees, broken oaks, slashed pine and hardwood groves, and disturbed landscapes.
Folder 1 contains fourteen photos (seven before and seven after Hurricane Camille) of sites located mostly in the Bay St. Louis area. Included are shots of elaborate beachfront homes such as Swoop Manor, historic landmarks such as St. Stanislaus and Waveland's Old Pirate House, and segments of U.S. Highway 90 such as the Divine Word Seminary Shrine. In each image, the differing degrees of damage is demonstrated. Washed and blown away were the Rowley home and the 167 year old Pirate House. Apparently on high ground, the Evans home still stood, and incredibly, Swoop Manor still stood despite its beachfront location.
Folder 2 contains twelve photographs taken before and after Hurricane Camille of sites also primarily located in the Bay St. Louis area. Included here are photos which demonstrate the range and extent of damage caused by the notorious hurricane. Some homes on very high ground, such as the Winnard home, sustained minor flooding and wind damage. Some homes barely missed complete destruction, such as the Glasses' home, where the family stayed safely upstairs although tidal surges and winds swept the first floor away. Some homes and structures were crushed entirely such as the Swoop Manor Gazebo and the Kimbus home, whose only remaining structural formation was the family's recent addition of a hurricane-proof carport. Also visible in three of the beachfront photos such as those of Romey's Tree, is the U.S. 90 bridge linking Bay St. Louis and Pass Christian.
This collection would be of use to any student interested in the Bay St. Louis/Waveland area during the late 1960's, hurricanes in general (Camille in particular), or Bob Hubbard's photography.
Mississippi Oral History Program: Hurricane Camille Survivors, call number of transcripts F341.5 .M57x, Vols. 178, 201, 222, 223, 224, 225, 228, 229, 230, 231, 232, 240.