Early December in Biloxi, Mississippi, finds John Lennon’s bittersweet “Happy Christmas” playing on the car radio amid a devastated landscape left by Hurricane Katrina just months earlier.
A State Farm public affairs specialist, touring the area with a BestWeek reporter, points out the tarp-shrouded shell of Beauvoir, the retirement home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Like so much else along Mississippi’s coast, Beauvoir–once a stately mansion within sight of the Gulf–is in ruins.
Many didn’t have flood coverage because it wasn’t required by their mortgage company; because they weren’t in a federally designated flood zone; or because their property withstood 1969’s Hurricane Camille, according to the Jan. 2, 2006 BestWeek story.
“The mentality of southern Mississippi before Katrina was this: I don’t need flood insurance because, one, the mortgage company doesn’t require it, and Camille. Well, Camille doesn’t mean anything anymore,” said State Farm agent Vernon McHan Sr., who’s based in Biloxi.
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