The hurricane hit the Mississippi coast head on. Orrin Pilkey immediately rushed to Waveland to bail out his parents whose house was 4 blocks back from the Gulf of Mexico. Their house had been flooded up to the 5-foot level and a half dozen trees had crashed through the roof. Some neighboring houses were now piles of broken boards and glass. But the houses closer to the beach disappeared completely, leaving behind empty concrete pads as evidence of their former existence. The wood, the sinks, the refrigerators, the cars, and all the family treasures from the destroyed houses had piled up in a sort of dike or ridge well inland of the coast. Reopening of roads through the debris dikes resulted in large road cuts stratified with the layers of a human disaster. A railroad embankment on the back side of town halted the storm surge and marked the line between devastated homes and damaged homes. For once, it paid to have lived on the wrong side of the tracks. American flags flew from trees and house fragments and the prevailing attitude among survivors was one of patriotism and confidence that no mater what the odds, we shall return.

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