17 years ago, Hurricane Katrina made landfall

Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 3:17 PM CDT
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - 17 years ago, Hurricane Katrina made landfall devastating the Gulf Coast. Most of the scars are gone, but the memories remain.

Sun shining and calm, blue surf. Almost perfect beach weather on Dauphin Island, but the past is never far away. On this beautiful day, it’s the anniversary of a devastating storm, Hurricane Katrina.

For 77 years Carroll Delcambre has weathered every storm Mother Nature has thrown at Dauphin Island, but Katrina stands out as one of the worst.

“We had stuff piled ten feet high on the road out there. All the beds and the couches and all that piled out there,” Delcambre said.

Delcambre lives in the center of the island, where he got nearly two feet of flooding, but the low west end fared the worst. This is a 3d map of homes there before Hurricane Ivan. A one, two punch with Katrina in less than a year wiped out more than 400 homes and pushed the island backwards several hundred yards. 17 years later, on the west end of Dauphin Island, there’s still some empty lots but most of the homes have been rebuilt.

“My people have been here since the 1800s and they wouldn’t think about putting a house on the west end because it changes so much. That sand moves and changes everything, " Delcambre told us.

Many of the current residents arrived after Katrina and have never been through a major storm on the island. Delcambre hopes when the next one comes, they listen and if they don’t, he’s got advice.

“I hope you got your good bible with you,” Delcambre said. “You just don’t know how them storms are going to hit you. What kind of pressure, what kind of water they’re bringing up, what kind of wind they bring up. You don’t know. "

One thing we do know is that eventually another Katrina, or Ivan, or Camille will come along, and Dauphin Island will face down another major storm.

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