The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
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Collection Title: Hurricane Camille Photograph Collection
Collection Number: M315
Dates: August 19-29, 1969
Volume: .25 cu. ft.
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. Downtown business areas were leveled, and 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 everywhere. 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.
The residential, social, religious, and business structures along the Mississippi Gulf Coast's U.S. Highway 90 from Harrison County to Hancock County are the focus of the 132 photographs in this collection. These pictures were selected from over 64 rolls of film originally taken as documentation to be used by insurance underwriters, and donated to the University of Southern Mississippi
Archives as a representative sample selected by the photographer, Fred Hutchins. Thus, the photographs represent a primary source which investigates the impact of Hurricane Camille on the Gulf Coast in Mississippi. These photographs, taken in the ten day period of 19-29 August 1969, provide comprehensive documentation of of the devastation caused by the category 5 hurricane, and have been noted for a "certain amount of variety in the images, and a selection that includes scenes that have not been widely circulated".
The photographs in this collection are organized geographically, as the camera moves along the Gulf Coast from eastern Harrison County to western Hancock County. The first 5 folders consist of photographs that were taken primarily of residences, churches, and businesses. The last folder, donated separately, contains photos mostly of industrial sites, shipyards, and national guard assistance.
Folder 1 contains M315-1 through M315-34. These photos were taken on August 19, 1969 and begin documentation on U.S. Highway 90 in Biloxi, Mississippi near Ocean Springs Bridge, and work west toward the Edgewater Mall in Biloxi.
Folder 2 is comprised of photographs M315-35 through M315-55, which were taken on August 20, 1969 and begin on U.S. Highway 90 at the Confederate Inn Motel in Gulfport, and move to a residential area near Hardy Avenue in west Gulfport. All photographs from this point on were of property north of the highway, as there was no permanent construction on the south side of U.S. Highway 90.
Folder 3 consists of photographs M315-56 through M315-69, taken on August 21, 1969, which begin at the Gulf Park college near Beach Park Avenue in Long Beach, Mississippi, and move west through Pass Christian to Ponce de Leon and Sandy Hook Drive in Pass Christian Isles. It was on this third day of photographing these sites, that the sequence was interrupted in order to shoot photos in Long Beach and Pass Christian Isles. With the exception of these photos, the photographs follow the east-west sequence described earlier.
Folder 4 includes photos M315-70 through M315-94, which resume photographing in a residential area located in Pass Christian and move west through this gulf shore town to an apartment complex in West Pass Christian.
Folder 5 contains photographs M315-95 through M315-116 which begin at the Breath home in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, and continue southwest of Bay St. Louis, depicting residences, churches, tree groves, and businesses damaged by Hurricane Camille. M315-166 depicts the Bay St. Louis Yacht Club, and is another photograph that was taken out of sequence on August 21, 1969. It is placed in this folder in order to retain consistency in the location-oriented provenance established by the photographer/donor.
Folder 6 holds photographs which were donated separately. M315-117 through M315-132 depict post-Camille scenes in the Gulfport Harbor which include ships and barges washed ashore, damaged buildings, and National Guardsmen and rescue vehicles. Residential, business, and highway photographs of the Gulfport area are also included.
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.