By Cyndi Sellers
June 27, 1957, is a date etched in the memory of all those who survived the devastation of Hurricane Audrey. It is a Cameron Parish holiday, and even though no observances have been held since the 50th anniversary in 2007, those survivors still remember and take note of the day.
Mike McCall’s slide show on the Cameron Parish: “Ain’t There No More” Facebook page details the impact and aftermath of that terrible day. Others have posted their stories and memories. As Audrey Day fell on a Sunday this year, prayers were offered in churches around the Parish marking the solemn occasion.
These efforts were made in order that the loss of life, almost 10 percent of the Parish population, will never be forgotten or repeated. Damage to property from major hurricanes like Audrey, Rita, and Laura cannot be prevented, but loss of life to storm surge certainly can. The entire nation was horrified and moved to action by the horror of June 27, 1957. In years to come, forecasting became better and better. Today we can look out a week or more and prepare for the next “big one.” No one has to be caught unaware ever again, as long as we never forget.
Sixty-four years have passed. As the number of survivors dwindles, the family stories are still being passed down, but first-hand accounts are becoming rarer. It has become old news, preserved in black and white photos of an earlier era. But for the survivors, it is just like yesterday.
The Cameron Parish Library photo archives include several rare color photographs donated by a military veteran who worked in the recovery effort. These photos bring the events to life for today’s viewer. Survivors’ stories are recorded in several books and on video produced for the now-defunct National Hurricane Museum project. An award-winning movie was made. The resources are available to keep telling the story. It must continue to be told.