Audrey recollections from stories told by the Wises

By Crystal Nix

I have never lived in Cameron Parish, but I have loved the land, the marshes and the beaches since I was a child.

I have worked for the Cameron Pilot for more years than I care to remember, and have read thousands of accounts of the force of this devastating storm. Jerry and Joy Wise, founders of the Cameron Parish Pilot, would tell us stories of the utter destruction Audrey left.

Jerry and Joy had just started the newspaper in 1956, just prior to Hurricane Audrey. They planned on relocating their home and office in Cameron, having just staked off their plot.

During the early morning hours of June 27, 1957, Hurricane Audrey roared into Cameron Parish as a category 4 hurricane, accompanied by 144 mph winds and a huge 12 ft. tidal wave. The water level reached a height of 25 to 30 feet. The residents of Cameron never contemplated the damage the storm would cause. The devastation and destruction was incomprehensible. The storm claimed over 400 lives that day.

The Wises worked side by side with Cameron residents during the recovery period, but the disaster deeply affected them, sealing the fate that the office would never be located in Cameron. They missed one issue of the paper during that time, with the next issue recording a headline that gave hope to the residents of Cameron, “Cameron Parish Will Rise Again!”

Mr. Wise was on the ground assisting with search efforts, while Mrs. Wise volunteered with the Red Cross.

Hurricane Audrey was the first named storm of the 1957 hurricane season.

Our office, located in DeQuincy, holds the archives of every Cameron Parish Pilot edition ever printed. Photos and stories are preserved in print for countless generations of Cameron residents to come.

We, the staff of the Cameron Parish Pilot, see your strength and resilience. We see the beauty of your land. We are proud to serve Cameron Parish. We consider Cameron Parish our “Home Sweet Home” too!