The Water Lies shares the true story of the Mucha family of Biloxi, Mississippi before, during, and after the hour when Hurricane Katrina tore their lives apart. Experience this family’s love and dedication as they confronted and overcame a lack of trust and the brutal consequences of poor decisions. Broken dreams, broken hearts, and facing death at different times threatened this family in untold ways, until now.
In sixty minutes, Hurricane Katrina changed countless lives forever. This is one family’s story that bares the raw emotions experienced by so many of the families of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. While the country and world embraced the tragic story of New Orleans, and justifiably so, the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast went about trying to rebuild their lives.
This region took the strongest part of Hurricane Katrina. Communities were literally erased. Hundreds of thousands of Mississippians lost their homes, churches, schools, employment— their very culture. While no two stories in The Water Lies are alike, they all represent the horror of losing everything and the tenacity of starting over. Choices can never be made without consequences and those consequences can be valuable learning opportunities.
Many statistics have been published on the impact of Hurricane Katrina. When the levies failed New Orleans after Katrina, the devastation of biblical proportions that impacted New Orleans captivated the world. Less attention was paid to the 400,000 people of the three coastal Mississippi counties that bore the brunt of this catastrophic storm on August 29, 2011. The Water Lies is one Mississippi coast family’s experience as they joined the statistics collected on Hurricane Katrina. Katrina, the second category 5 hurricane of the 2005 hurricane season, impacted over 100 square miles, consuming the entire Mississippi coast and killing 238 people. The cost of Katrina reached $75 billion in damages, but the toll of damage to the lives it shattered cannot be measured. Thousands of local residents were irreparably harmed. They were suddenly unemployed; their homes, churches and schools destroyed. The infrastructure of their cities and communities was damaged or erased. Their hospitals were crippled and became much like wartime triage facilities, unable to handle the hundreds of injuries they faced daily. These families turned to the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, churches and other charitable organizations for housing, food, and water. Without these organizations refugees would have had no help for days, weeks, and months. Tens of thousands of single family homes were destroyed, leaving the image of devastation caused by an atomic bomb. The unprecedented 30 foot storm surge destroyed homes; many that were not located on the coastline or bays. The huge number of displaced people defies the imagination. Thousands of people, who had children and pets, homes and furnishings, cars, trucks, boats, careers and all the normalcy of life, faced a new world. In a matter of hours, everything they thought of as theirs was gone. This new world would be hot, humid, muddy, foul, unhealthy, and foreign to their beliefs and experiences. This new world would be a place where they were nobody and had nothing except a human body and mind that somewhat functioned on a perfunctory level. Over three hundred years of history, culture and artifacts were destroyed to such a degree that streets and neighborhoods were unidentifiable. There were no apartment buildings, businesses, landmarks or street signs. There were no usable bridges. For miles and miles there were only mounds of trash and devastation. Buildings, trees, vehicles and homes with all of their contents were mangled together in piles that filled the streets and land that were cities and communities. Coastal cities were literally gone. Katrina was one of the most devastating storms to have ever hit the United States of America. Six years after Katrina, the communities are becoming communities again, but life has changed for many forever.
Dr. Linda Gannon Mucha is the author of Chuckie and Other Gifted Children: Understanding and Advocating for the Gifted Child. She is an assistant professor at William Carey University, teaching graduate students in the field of gifted education. She is a life-long resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
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