Hancock County, Mississippi

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Hancock County is the southernmost county of the U.S. state of Mississippi, situated along the Gulf of Mexico and the state line with Louisiana. It is part of the GulfportBiloxi, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2000, the population was 42,967. Its county seat is Bay St. Louis[1]. The area is also home to the John C. Stennis Space Center, NASA's largest rocket engine test facility. Hancock County is named for Founding Father John Hancock.

The county was severely damaged from Hurricane Katrina on August 28-29, 2005, causing catastrophic effects.

Contents

History

In 2005, the county was the scene of the final landfall of the eye of Hurricane Katrina, and its communities and infrastructure suffered some of the most intense damage inflicted by that storm. Over the entire 7-mile (11 km) beach front, not one building or home was left intact. This is true for nearly the entire 1st block off of the beach for the entire 7-mile (11 km) stretch.

Homes as far inland as 10 miles (16 km) were flooded by the historic storm surge which occurred during a full moon high tide. All rivers and waterways were inundated by the surge. Highway 603 south from Interstate 10 was completely submerged, and the Highway 90 - Bay St. Louis Bridge was left looking like a stack of dominoes. Houses were floated off their foundations. In Waveland and Bay St. Louis some homes were left atop the railroad tracks and others in the middle of streets. Towns like Pearlington, Waveland, Bay St. Louis, Diamondhead, and Kiln suffered catastrophic damage.

Recovery from Hurricane Katrina

A loosely knit group of hippies called the "Rainbow Family" arrived in Hancock County soon after Hurricane Katrina. From early September 2005 to early December 2005, they ran the "New Waveland Café & Clinic" [1] [2] located in the parking lot of Fred's Dept Store on Highway 90. The café provided free hot meals three times a day. The clinic was staffed by volunteer doctors and nurses from around the United States who saw over 5000 patients during the duration, free of charge and dispensing free medications. Donations of medications and supplies came from a multitude of sources, with International Aid [3] arranging the most donations. This was the first experience of the counter-culture Rainbow Family in running a disaster relief center. The Bastrop Christian Outreach Center also volunteered with the Rainbow Family.

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