Waveland’s Hurricane Museum honors founder

As the anniversary for Hurricane Katrina approaches next week, the hurricane museum in Waveland is now known as ‘Waveland’s Lili Stahler Murphy Ground Zero Museum’ honoring one of their founders.

Lili Stahler Murphy opened the doors to the museum on the eighth anniversary of Katrina. Her colleague, Linda Aivolasiti, the current director for the museum, recalls her experiences with Lily having worked together since the museum opened. “This was her baby. She was here two or three times a week to just check on things. She’d talk to some of the guests, I mean this was her home away from home, she loved this place and I do too.”

The museum gives visitors a unique perspective on the lives of locals having to rebuild after the storm. “This is what we call the Waveland Room. It’s more of a history of Waveland opposed to just the history of Katrina.”

In this room, you can find artifacts like animals from an old carousel, carnival costumes, as well as a wall of Boy Scout merit badges, each with a story behind them explaining their roles in Waveland’s history. The museum also features a Katrina quilt collection.

You can also find the artwork of H.C. Porter in the ‘Backyards and Beyond’ exhibit. After Katrina she came down to the Coast, took photos, and interviewed the survivors. Porter later reimagined the photos. “The pictures are awesome. We have a film in there and it shows a couple of pictures in black and white and when you look at that then look at the picture on the wall, it brings it to life.”

Under normal circumstances the museum is free admission and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 3. However, they are temporarily closed due to COVID. “Most of our visitors are from out of town or out of state and they’re in awe. This is educational for them. Most of the time, the only thing you ever saw on TV was New Orleans. No one ever knew we existed, but we are the ones who were wiped out. This was ground zero.”

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