“His death certificate should say: Hurricane Katrina.”
August 23, 2015 8:45 AM   Subscribe

"Billy McDonald rose to political power in a little Mississippi beach town on the strength of his resilience and colorful personality. But when Hurricane Katrina hit Pass Christian, it took everything from him and his city."
posted by roomthreeseventeen (2 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Huh. I worked as a temp in the PC town hall for most of the summer 2001. They offered me a job at the end of it, but I had other irons in the fire at the time. My interactions with the mayor were few and brief, as mostly I worked in the city clerk's office down the hall from him. We did crowd around the mayor's TV to watch the second tower fall on 9/11, though he wasn't there at the time. That was a good gig, I liked the people and the vibe of the place was as you'd expect a tiny Southern town hall to be. The town used to be a really picturesque place with some nice art/sculpture galleries. My parents weathered Katrina (and a few months afterward) at their friend's home in PC, which was a little bit inland and so mercifully was still standing after the storm. My first trip back to the area, about a month after landfall, I had to pass through an ANG checkpoint to get to where my parents were staying because the whole town was still mostly just so much matchsticks. I don't think at that time we could even get to where the townhall was or the streets just off the beach. I think I've been back in the intervening years, but it was totally unrecognizable from when I worked there.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 9:10 AM on August 23, 2015 [9 favorites]

I imagine a lot of local politicians don't get into the business because they expect to face such a terrible challenge. It's just a shame that he didn't have the self awareness to leave gracefully and early when it became clear he wasn't up to the task. Making it into a protracted political struggle just made everything, his health included, worse.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:23 PM on August 23, 2015

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