Hurricane Katrina made landfall near Grand Isle, Louisiana on August 29, 2005 — just over thirteen years ago. Our nation watched in horror as the storm hurled mighty winds nearing 127 mph at the region causing apocalyptic storm surges and catastrophic flooding all along the Gulf Coast. The total damage from Katrina is estimated to be $125 billion.

 Thirteen years ago this week, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near Grand Isle, Louisiana. Four weeks later, our Foundation led a team of volunteers to the region to determine how we could help.

Thirteen years ago this week, Hurricane Katrina made landfall near Grand Isle, Louisiana. Four weeks later, our Foundation led a team of volunteers to the region to determine how we could help.

Four weeks after Hurricane Katrina’s assault, a group of volunteers recruited by the Community Foundation of Northwest Georgia, made a fact finding trek to the region.

“The city of Waveland, Mississippi probably took the worst the storm had to offer,” remembered Norris Little, a Dalton business leader who travelled to the Gulf Coast with the team. “When we returned home, we struggled with how our region could reach out to the affected area and provide real and sustainable assistance in its efforts to re-establish their communities.”

The Foundation took on two projects. The first was a benefit concert in Dalton’s historic Wink Theatre, which raised $25,000 earmarked from the City of Waveland and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. The Foundation also worked closely with the Carpet and Rug Institute and local industry to develop a carpet and floor covering installation training program. The program graduated 12 certified carpet installers later that spring.

To commemorate our twenty-year history of advancing local philanthropy, we present twenty photos from the Foundation’s trip to Waveland, Mississippi in the aftermath of Katrina.

 1. In fall of 2005, a team of leaders from Dalton visited the Gulf Coast to determine how the Community Foundation and other Northwest Georgia businesses could assist in the cleanup and recovery after Hurricane Katrina hammered the region. Pictured are: Charlie Johnson, David Aft (President of the Foundation), Tommy Longo (Mayor of the city of Waveland, Mississippi), and Norris Little (Foundation volunteer and Dalton business leader). George Woodward and Richard Fairey made the trip but are not pictured.

1. In fall of 2005, a team of leaders from Dalton visited the Gulf Coast to determine how the Community Foundation and other Northwest Georgia businesses could assist in the cleanup and recovery after Hurricane Katrina hammered the region. Pictured are: Charlie Johnson, David Aft (President of the Foundation), Tommy Longo (Mayor of the city of Waveland, Mississippi), and Norris Little (Foundation volunteer and Dalton business leader). George Woodward and Richard Fairey made the trip but are not pictured.

 2. The photo shows the remains of Long Beach, Mississippi. The team saw mass and utter devastation for as far as their eyes could see.

2. The photo shows the remains of Long Beach, Mississippi. The team saw mass and utter devastation for as far as their eyes could see.

 3. Boats were flung inland. Cars were toppled and mangled. Photo taken in Pass Christian, Mississippi.

3. Boats were flung inland. Cars were toppled and mangled. Photo taken in Pass Christian, Mississippi.

 4. In the aftermath, community leaders launched "Project Rebirth," and started the work of rebuilding the Gulf Coast communities torn asunder by the storm.

4. In the aftermath, community leaders launched "Project Rebirth," and started the work of rebuilding the Gulf Coast communities torn asunder by the storm.

 5. Photo of Gulfport commercial fishing boats "tossed" here and there along the shores.

5. Photo of Gulfport commercial fishing boats "tossed" here and there along the shores.

 6. The twisted rails throughout the region served as a stark reminder of the power of a storm surge.

6. The twisted rails throughout the region served as a stark reminder of the power of a storm surge.

 7. Photo shows debris layered along the beach of Gulfport, Mississippi.

7. Photo shows debris layered along the beach of Gulfport, Mississippi.

 8. "Amid the debris and next to fallen homes and structures were tent cities. So many people were living in tents."  -David Aft

8. "Amid the debris and next to fallen homes and structures were tent cities. So many people were living in tents."  -David Aft

 9. Photo shows the remnants of a playground smashed against the side of an elementary school.

9. Photo shows the remnants of a playground smashed against the side of an elementary school.

 10. "The Catholic Church in Pass Christian had been torn apart by the wind and water, yet a shrine of Mary had been spared. There wasn't a scratch or mark on her."  - David Aft

10. "The Catholic Church in Pass Christian had been torn apart by the wind and water, yet a shrine of Mary had been spared. There wasn't a scratch or mark on her."  - David Aft

 11. A resident of Waveland, Mississippi accepts a boxed meal from the American Red Cross four weeks after Hurricane Katrina decimated his community.

11. A resident of Waveland, Mississippi accepts a boxed meal from the American Red Cross four weeks after Hurricane Katrina decimated his community.

 12. Four weeks after the storm, Gulfport Seabees were already rebuilding the community.

12. Four weeks after the storm, Gulfport Seabees were already rebuilding the community.

 13. "People were genuinely thankful that their lives were spared. I remember seeing a crude sign painted on ply board that read, 'Look. Hug. God lives.'"  - David Aft

13. "People were genuinely thankful that their lives were spared. I remember seeing a crude sign painted on ply board that read, 'Look. Hug. God lives.'"  - David Aft

 14. Photo shows "all that was left of Waveland, Mississippi" four weeks after Katrina. 

14. Photo shows "all that was left of Waveland, Mississippi" four weeks after Katrina. 

 15. Norris Little poses next to a marker thanking volunteers and donors for helping the Waveland community rebuild after the Hurricane Camille disaster in 1969.

15. Norris Little poses next to a marker thanking volunteers and donors for helping the Waveland community rebuild after the Hurricane Camille disaster in 1969.

 16. Photo shows what was left of a coastal condo community near Diamondhead, Mississippi.

16. Photo shows what was left of a coastal condo community near Diamondhead, Mississippi.

 17. Photo shows the temporary city hall erected in Waveland just weeks after Hurricane Katrina.

17. Photo shows the temporary city hall erected in Waveland just weeks after Hurricane Katrina.

 18. Photo shows the heightened police presence in Long Beach, Mississippi in the aftermath of Katrina. Note the trash and debris lining the roadways. “I couldn’t imagine facing the debris and devastation every single day. It was everywhere, and there was no escaping it.” - David Aft

18. Photo shows the heightened police presence in Long Beach, Mississippi in the aftermath of Katrina. Note the trash and debris lining the roadways. “I couldn’t imagine facing the debris and devastation every single day. It was everywhere, and there was no escaping it.” - David Aft

 19. Photo shows a boat resting peacefully in the middle of a cemetery just outside of Biloxi, Mississippi. 

19. Photo shows a boat resting peacefully in the middle of a cemetery just outside of Biloxi, Mississippi. 

 20. Residents of the coastal region placed an American flag near the debris field as an enduring symbol of hope. 

20. Residents of the coastal region placed an American flag near the debris field as an enduring symbol of hope. 

As we look back on our 20 year history, our Foundation remembers our friends and neighbors in Waveland and the other coastal communities. We hope they are well.

Thank you for being part of the Foundation’s history. Please help us share our story by sharing our posts with others. And as always, if we can be of service to you, your family, or your company, please contact us at (706) 275-9117.

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