Hurricane Celebration

Hurricane Celebration

Often people experiencing hurricane fury feel that the earth appears to be in its death throes. Hurricane Camille created such an effect.

On August 17, 1969, Camille roared across the Gulf Coast, slamming inland near Gulfport, Mississippi. Winds at speeds of over 200 miles per hour lashed the earth, and a deluge of rain fell on the land. When its fury was abated, Camille left behind more than 250 dead and about eighty missing. The property damage amounted to well over $1.5 billion.

As soon as Hurricane Camille first came roaring out of the gulf and rode over Mississippi, some 75,000 people fled inland to higher ground. However, a few of them decided not to join the timid escapees.

In the town of Pass Christian, Mississippi, twenty—five guests of the resort hotel Richelieu made a fateful decision. Camille was already thrashing at the hotel when the twenty—five fun lovers decided to throw a hurricane party! And so, as officials pounded on doors shouting last warnings to evacuate, the guests, amused at their own trickery, kept very quiet. Convinced that the hotel was completely evacuated, the officials withdrew and sought safety inland.

The hurricane party began but was rather short—lived. The storm completely demolished the hotel, killing twenty—three of the party group. The two survivors would make only one unforgettable comment to justify their actions: "We thought it would be great fun!"

From the book: 
Our Fascinating Earth