So in 2012 when Kennedy pointed out to Stahler that there was no hurricane museum on the coast, Lili didn’t miss a beat. “I’ve got the perfect building for it,” she answered. “And it’s in Waveland.”
Less than a year later, on the 8th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the new Waveland Ground Zero Hurricane Museum opened its doors to the public for the first time. Dozens of organizations and people had worked with determination to make it possible. Like Stahler predicted, its home is in “the perfect building,” the restored Waveland school. This historic Mississippi Landmark was the sole surviving building remaining on Waveland’s historic Coleman Avenue business district after Katrina’s horrific rampage.
The survivors of Hurricane Katrina who founded this museum understood one important fact: although hurricanes create havoc and tragedy, the resiliency and compassion rising out of those natural disasters is the important story, one that can serve as inspiration for every visitor.
The Mississippi Katrina experience taught many lessons. During the storm itself and through the long years of recovery, despite danger, chaos and unimaginable heartbreak, the vast majority of coast residents displayed dignity, courage and compassion for others. In the storm’s aftermath, volunteers in unprecedented numbers flocked to Mississippi – a place many of them had never before visited. No job was too dirty or difficult. Living conditions were uncomfortable at best. Yet, they saw a need and they came.
The strength of the survivors and the generosity of the volunteers represent humanity at its best. Those magnificent attributes and extraordinary people deserve to be honored. Now there’s a museum that does just that – in a little town called Waveland, Mississippi.
The Museum is currently under-going repairs and is closed.
Director: LiLi Stahler-Murphy, email@example.com