Pass Christian Harbor Makes Comeback After Katrina
Friday will mark nine years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged Pass Christian, but if you ask Mayor Leo McDermott, he says sometimes it feels like it’s been nine minutes or 90 years. McDermott says, "It was almost annihilation, it was just basically, every public building was totally destroyed, every church was totally destroyed or unusable, and every church, school, and building, so there really wasn’t anything left."
One of the hardest hit areas of the city was the harbor, and for a coastal city, the harbor is the cornerstone of the economy. The city has been working to build the harbor better than it was before, but officials are still repairing damage from that fateful day. Willie Davis, Pass Christian Harbor Master, says, "There’s some little knick knack stuff on the walls that need to be fixed, but those things cost a lot of money, it looks small but for instance right now. We’re doing a small section on the other side, about 60 foot of repairing the wall and that’s around $460,000."
The new addition to Pass Christian Harbor may look deserted, but the Harbor Master says all the slips are filled and that the owners should be docking their boats this Labor Day weekend. Davis also says, "With your pleasure boaters and your shrimpers and stuff like that, we were totally out of parking. Now we have three times that and we already have people ready to use it."
The increased harbor traffic will bring millions of dollars into the city, building Pass Christian stronger than it was before and bringing the city back from the brink of destruction. McDermott also says, "Everybody’s come a long ways, all of them. I mean, it was questionable whether we were going to close the books on this town or not after the hurricane. It was that bad, but the generosity of the American people and the spirit of the people here on the Gulf Coast, we were able to come back."
McDermott says that there was a silver lining from that day nine years ago, and it’s that the city learned that they aren’t alone.
McDermott closes, "Instead of being one mile long and six miles wide, we learned that we are 50 states long and 50 states wide. We learned that from Katrina."