This post is part of an ongoing series, “Time and Tide: Ten Years after Katrina.” Special thanks to Preston Everett, Archives and Records Services, for writing this post.
The majority of MDAH Archives and Records Services Division staff works at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building in Jackson, Mississippi. On Friday, August 26, 2005, MDAH employees went home for the weekend thinking Katrina wasn’t going to hit Mississippi directly since the hurricane was veering to the west. Monday the 29 was a very different story. Hurricane Katrina made landfall as a category three at 125 mph. When it arrived in central Mississippi, it had weakened to a category one hurricane at 95 mph.
Staff made preparations for the hurricane by moving everything away from the windows and covering furniture and equipment with Visqueen. By mid-morning, heartbreaking and disturbing stories began reaching us. The New Orleans levees were not holding, and the Superdome’s roof was tearing apart. While Winter Building employees were making preparations, the world outside the building showed signs Katrina was close. The Image and Sound section employees took this video around 10:45 a.m. The light fixture fell one hour later, missing the building.