There weren’t many things on West Beach in Gulfport that didn’t get swept away by Hurricane Katrina. Ironically, one of the few landmarks surviving is the SS Hurricane Camille. |
The 72-foot tugboat East Point, washed ashore by the storm that changed its name, remains right where it was, although worse for wear. Lucille Moody, who owned it and the Hurricane Camille Gift Shop behind it, said she found three new holes in the hull and a dent in the bow.
She said she doesn’t plan to rebuild the gift store now.
“I’m too old to start new,” said Moody. “If I did build back, there wouldn’t be any tourists for 10 years.”
She said she didn’t want to borrow a bunch of money to rebuild, but she’s not in a rush to sell. Moody joked that nobody knows where to find her with the store washed away.
Moody was a student getting ready to finish at the University of Southern Mississippi when Camille hit South Mississippi in August 1969.
The boat washed ashore with its bow facing west on property her parents owned, and they noticed that everybody was stopping to take pictures, making it a natural attraction to attach a gift shop to.
The Moodys bought the boat, which had been moored in the shrimp boat harbor before Camille, had railroad tracks built and moved it 200 feet south to where it still sits.
They opened in time for Labor Day the next year, and this year was the first time since then that the Camille Gift Shop wasn’t open on Labor Day.
Moody hasn’t completely ruled out rebuilding the store.
“I might decide to later,” she said, “but I doubt it.”