City leaders remember Jan. 21 tornado - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

City leaders remember Jan. 21 tornado

The Jan. 21, 2017 tornado killed four people and damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes. Photo credit WDAM. The Jan. 21, 2017 tornado killed four people and damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes. Photo credit WDAM.
PINE BELT (WDAM) -

City leaders in Hattiesburg and Petal are remembering the Jan. 21, 2017 tornado.  

"You go through a flood, a hurricane, a tornado, I mean, what else is left," said former Hattiesburg mayor Johnny Dupree. "Well, another tornado and I just couldn't believe that that would happen."

"It's something you don't want to go through once, you sure don't want to go through it twice," said Hal Marx, mayor of Petal. "It's hard to believe it's been a year since then, but it's still very vivid in my mind, all those memories."          

Dupree and Marx not only have vivid memories of the damage done by the tornado, but also memories of how their communities worked together to comfort each other, to clean up and rebuild. 

"Can you imagine if our community was not a community that came together," Dupree said. "Can you imagine if we had a community that was not prepared and that's what stands out to me."

"That's the whole outlook of people is 'don't let it slow us down and we're not going to let it stop us,'" said Marx. '"We're going to just pick back up, dust off, rebuild.'"

Dupree says rebuilding an area like the East Jerusalem neighborhood, which was hard hit, will be difficult and he's concerned it may never be the same.  

"(Some residents) either had no insurance, under-insured or not insurable, so many won't be back," said Dupree. 

But, Marx is more confident that all Petal neighborhoods affected by the storm will fully recover.

"There are some empty lots and I realize that not everyone is going to build back," Marx said. "I have no doubt that eventually, someone is going to come along and want to build houses on those lots."

Marx also said most businesses affected by the storm have chosen to reopen in Petal.

Copyright 2018 WDAM. All rights reserved. 

  • Local NewsLOCALMore>>

  • Council approves pay increase for HPD dispatchers

    Council approves pay increase for HPD dispatchers

    Wednesday, July 18 2018 12:00 AM EDT2018-07-18 04:00:59 GMT
    The Hattiesburg City Council voted to give dispatchers in Hattiesburg Police Department a pay increase. WDAM looked at the numbers and where the money is coming from. (Photo source: WDAM)The Hattiesburg City Council voted to give dispatchers in Hattiesburg Police Department a pay increase. WDAM looked at the numbers and where the money is coming from. (Photo source: WDAM)

    WDAM cameras inside council chambers Tuesday night as the Hattiesburg City Council cast their votes. The council voted yes, to giving dispatchers within the Hattiesburg Police Department a pay increase. WDAM looked at the numbers and where the money is coming from. Councilman Carter Carroll said, "Dispatcher is a very important position and it needs to be someone with experience." Right now, the Hattiesburg Police Department has an extremely high turnover rate in that spe...

    More >>

    WDAM cameras inside council chambers Tuesday night as the Hattiesburg City Council cast their votes. The council voted yes, to giving dispatchers within the Hattiesburg Police Department a pay increase. WDAM looked at the numbers and where the money is coming from. Councilman Carter Carroll said, "Dispatcher is a very important position and it needs to be someone with experience." Right now, the Hattiesburg Police Department has an extremely high turnover rate in that spe...

    More >>
  • Players of the Pine Belt - Lumberton senior C.K. Bowens

    Players of the Pine Belt - Lumberton senior C.K. Bowens

  • Players of the Pine Belt - Lumberton senior C.K. Bowens

    Players of the Pine Belt - Lumberton senior C.K. Bowens

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 11:43 PM EDT2018-07-18 03:43:33 GMT
    Lumberton senior C.K. Owens. Courtesy: WDAMLumberton senior C.K. Owens. Courtesy: WDAM
    Lumberton senior C.K. Owens. Courtesy: WDAMLumberton senior C.K. Owens. Courtesy: WDAM

    Currently, Lumberton High School senior safety C.K. Bowens acts as a de facto coach-on-the-field for Coach Zach Jones’ defense. And if Jones’ has his way, Bowens will become a coach on his staff some day in the future. “Somebody’s fired,” Jones said only half-kidding. “He has a job because I would hire him in a minute. He just has a way of getting his point across and people listen. He’s just a natural leader.”

    More >>

    Currently, Lumberton High School senior safety C.K. Bowens acts as a de facto coach-on-the-field for Coach Zach Jones’ defense. And if Jones’ has his way, Bowens will become a coach on his staff some day in the future. “Somebody’s fired,” Jones said only half-kidding. “He has a job because I would hire him in a minute. He just has a way of getting his point across and people listen. He’s just a natural leader.”

    More >>
Powered by Frankly