Skip Top Navigation
Hurricanes Email Search Home

The Story Of Mary Ann And Hurricane Camille

Mary Ann lived near the Gulf of Mexico in 1969 when Hurricane Camille struck her three-story apartment building. Mary Ann was one of 24 people who didn't leave the Richelieu Apartments when they were warned. When the storm surge hit, the building began to creak and the windows broke out. Water started flooding in and was all over the apartment in a matter of two minutes - and the apartment was on the second floor!

In about five minutes, Mary Ann's bed was floating half way to the ceiling. As the building began to fall apart, Mary Ann floated out of the window and grabbed onto a sofa pillow that came by. She became tangled in wires and debris. It was dark, but Mary Ann saw the building come down all around her. The wind was awful. It reached 234 miles per hour during Hurricane Camille. Mary Ann continued to hold onto anything she could-furniture, tree limbs and parts of houses and buildings. The winds and waves were so strong that every time Mary Ann grabbed hold of something it would be ripped from her hands. She kept getting hit by the wreckage and was bloody from head to toe from the nails in the boards. This went on for 12 hours before Mary Ann was found 4 ½ miles from her house. She was taken to a hospital where she stayed for three weeks.

Today, Mary Ann is grown up. She still lives in Mississippi. She tells her story over and over so people will listen when they're told to evacuate.

FEMA for Kids footer graphic