Hancock Bank Katrina Café

 Katrina left an indelible mark on all aspects of life in south Mississippi. To help understand and appreciate the dramatic impact, the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art’s Katrina +10 exhibition will host a weekly series of “Katrina Café” presentations, where well-known community leaders will discuss the challenges of Katrina in their respective fields and how they overcame those challenges. Admission to luncheons, which will be held at the Ohr-O’Keefe, is $10 per person, which includes lunch. reservations must be made by 5 p.m. Thursday the week of the luncheon at (228) 374-5547.  Click here to Order Tickets Online.


March 20 – The birth of Katrina. WLOX Meteorologist Carrie Duncan, who broadcast weather advisories before, during and after Katrina, discusses the origins of the monster storm, its progression and its destructive force at landfall.

March 27 – Katrina with class. School superintendents Beth John of Pass Christian and Paul Tisdale of Biloxi discuss how their respective school districts were able to resume class after being decimated by Katrina and today stand as the No. 1 and No. 3-rated schools in the state.

April 3 – Historically speaking. Lolly Barnes, executive director of the Mississippi Heritage Trust, speaks to the tremendous number of historic properties that perished in Katrina and why there’s still reason to celebrate.

April 10 – Katrina: You can bank on it.  George Schloegel of Hancock Bank discuss the many challenges that were brought about for banks in the wake of Katrina, from wet deposit boxes to cashing checks and serving customers and non-customers in the days and weeks after the storm.

April 17 – Our Changing Coastline. In this presentation, which occurs a few days before Earth Day, the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources discusses our coastline – what is was like before Katrina, what happened, what it’s like now, and the trends and challenges we’re seeing. The presentation will discuss the DMR’s restoration efforts, Tidelands work and fisheries conservation.

April 24 – TBA

May 1 – 10-8: Officers on Duty. Biloxi Police Chief John Miller on how Biloxi police prepared, what challenges they faced, how they dealt with those challenges, and the lessons learned from our Katrina experience.

May 8 – Paying it forward. The Biloxi Fire Department, which faced the unenviable task of fighting fires with critically low water pressure in the days immediately after Katrina, has been helping communities who’ve faced their own catastrophes in recent years. Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney explains the lessons the BFD learned after Katrina, and how they’re assisting other communities

May 15 – Rooms with a view. Linda Hornsby, executive director of the Mississippi Lodging Association, speaks on the Mississippi Gulf Coast hotel industry: where we were, what happened, where we are today and where we’re headed.

May 22 — A Helping Hand. Holly Gibbs, the executive director of the group Hands On Mississippi, discusses the tremendous and on-going role that volunteers played in the Katrina recovery – then and now.

May 29 – Eddie Favre: The Long and Short of It. The former mayor of Bay St. Louis discusses the devastation of Bay St. Louis and the painstaking process of digging from the rubble, and the national celebrity he took on in the process.

June 5 — Gene Taylor. The man who represented South Mississippi in Congress at the time of the storm, who also lost his home in Katrina, talks about the many challenges brought about by Katrina, and the lessons learned 

June 12 — Promise and Possibility. Habitat for Humanity of the Mississippi Gulf Coast has built and rehabbed over 900 homes using an army of volunteers since Hurricane Katrina. And the work still continues. Get a progress report on what’s been done and the new challenges.

June 19 — D’Iberville: The little city that could and did. Bobby Eleuterius, city manager of the City of D’Iberville, gives a presentation about the post-Katrina transformation of D’Iberville from a small community north of Biloxi to what many today recognize as the retail center of the Gulf Coast.

June 26 – The cellular storm. Katrina wrought havoc on cell phone towers and communications all along the Gulf Coast. C-Spire explains what happened, how the issues were overcome and how the industry is even better prepared today.

July 3 – A Visiting Chief. Steve Gerard, the chief of the fire department in the little town of New Sharon, Iowa (pop. 1,300), showed up with a few of his fellow firefighters after Hurricane Katrina and spent a month helping muck out houses and lending a hand at the hectic Biloxi fire stations of those days. Hear what he saw and the lessons he learned from his experience

July 10 – Working through the storm. Electricity and water were scarce in downtown Biloxi in the days after Hurricane Katrina, but Biloxi Regional Medical Center found a way to continue to provide essential medical care during that critical time, and today has ambitious plans to provide even-more enhanced medical services to the residents of Biloxi and the surrounding area – storm or no storm.

July 17 – Keesler: Rebuilt and renewed. Keesler sustained a staggering $950 million in damage at the hands of Katrina, so in the days after Aug. 29, 2005 no one could have imagined that the base would a few years later be named the best in the Air Force. Hear and see the story of “Operation Dragon Comeback,” and how Keesler continues on mission, forging ahead with its rebuilding, renewing its commitment and reloading the military with well-trained Airmen.

July 24 — Katrina RIP. Gary Hargrove, the Harrison County coroner, discusses the challenges of dealing with the casualties in the wake of the storm, and how he was able to reconnect victims and survivors.

July 31 – Dealing With Disaster. Rupert Lacy, executive director of Harrison County Emergency Management Agency and a longtime Harrison County EMA staffer, discusses the challenges brought by Hurricane Katrina..

Aug. 7 – Finding Salvation. The head of the Salvation Army in Biloxi discusses the Army’s relief role in the days and weeks after Katrina, and the huge investment that has been made in the multi-faceted Kroc center in east Biloxi.  Meals for this Katrina Brown Bag will be served from a Salvation Army mobile kitchen, called a “canteen,” not unlike those vehicles that served meals in so many neighborhoods in the days and weeks after Katrina.

Aug. 14 — And Justice for All. Reilly Morse has emerged as vital voice for the poor and underprivileged in the years since Katrina. Morse gives his take on where we were and how we’ve evolved since Katrina.

Aug. 21 – Housing and economic recovery: The one-two combination. Gerald Blessey, the former mayor of Biloxi who was appointed by Gov. Haley Barbour on the third anniversary of Katrina to serve as “czar” of housing recovery for Katrina victims on the Gulf Coast, discusses the successes, challenges and connection between housing and economic recovery.

Aug. 28 – Lessons Learned. Mike Womack, the former head of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, which oversaw and tracked the billions of dollars in federal aid that flowed to Mississippi, discusses the many lessons learned from the Katrina aftermath and recovery.