Thread: 403 Hurricane
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Old 11-03-2013, 04:25 AM   #26
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Having chosen an article for a project regarding a recent storm not yet classified as a Hurricane in Europe, I had the urge to watch this episode tonight.
Out of curiosity I did some research on Hurricane Camille which revealed it to have been an actual occurrence.
1969- Hurricane Camille

Hurricane Camille was the third and strongest tropical cyclone and second hurricane during the 1969 Atlantic hurricane season. It smashed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast on the night of August 17, 1969, and carved a path of destruction until the early hours of 18 August.

In addition there might also be some truth to the Hurricane Camille party. It's seemingly been diluted into partial myth though one certainty is that Quantum Leap had completely fictionalized it.
Supposedly 23 guests were partying on the third floor of the Richelieu Manor apartments in Pass Christian, Mississippi and when a wall of water flooded and destroyed the building (as QL had portrayed) only a single survivor was left.
This however is only one version of many. There are at least two different identities of the sole survivor while other accounts claim there was more than one survivor and deny a party even occurred.

One persistent account about Camille states that a hurricane party was held on the third floor of the Richelieu Manor Apartments in Pass Christian, Mississippi, in the path of the eyewall as it made landfall. The high storm surge flooded and destroyed the building, and there was only one survivor to tell of the story of the others. Who the survivor is, how many party guests there were, and just how far the sole survivor was swept by the storm varies with the retelling...Survivor Ben Duckworth is quoted in Hurricane Camille: Monster Storm of the Gulf Coast as stating that the Richelieu was a designated civil defense air-raid shelter. However, their faith in the building's sturdiness was unfounded, as it was completely demolished by the storm. Twenty-three people are known to have stayed in the Richelieu Apartments during the hurricane, of whom eight died. The tale of the lone survivor and the party appears to have originated with survivor Mary Ann Gerlach.[8] Other survivors, including Duckworth and Richard Keller, have expressed irritation at the story.[22][23] "The hurricane party never happened, nor was the number of deaths associated with the apartment inhabitants accurate," says Pat Fitzpatrick, Mississippi State University professor and author of Hurricanes: A Reference Handbook.[24]
The site of the Richeliu Apartments, the corner of Henderson Ave and US90 in Pass Christian, later became a shopping center. Coincidentally, it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
(NOTE: Typically I don't use Wikipedia, I find myself having difficulty trusting it though if it's the only or one of few which gives a detailed account of something I will take a look and consider it's information).

Here is another account by the woman mentioned in the above excerpt, Mary Ann Gerlach who is claimed in some versions to have been the sole survivor.
5. An enduring story about Hurricane Camille in 1969 is that residents of the Richelieu Manor apartment building in Pass Christian, Miss., threw a "hurricane party," and that only one person survived. But that tale, told by survivor Mary Ann Gerlach, is in serious doubt. Other survivors have been identified, and one insisted that he and another person stayed not to party but to help a fellow resident. Contacted recently by the Tribune, Gerlach stood by her story: "I don't care if anyone believes it or not. There was no reason for me to lie. I didn't get a penny out of it." Incidentally, when Gerlach was charged with killing her 11th husband (yes, 11th), years after Camille, her lawyer used an insanity defense, citing Gerlach's hurricane ordeal. That story didn't fly, and she did time in prison.

Personally that last bit has me questioning this woman's credibility.

Another account which claims there were only eight deaths and no party.

One of the most enduring myths of Camille was the death of 23 residents of the Richelieu Apartments in Pass Christian who were said to be having a “hurricane party.” Recent research suggests that eight people died in the building when 30-foot storm waves obliterated it. But there was no party. The attention given to the tale has obscured the overwhelming tragedy of the Williams family. While the father, Paul Williams, survived after being swept out of Trinity Church where his family had taken refuge, his wife and all 12 of his children drowned.

Nothing that I have read however has come close to matching the Quantum Leap account though as fans we know that they romanticize situations which often accommodate Sam's need to save everyone.
I however find this fascinating.

Icon made by the lovely Ladystoneheart with the beautiful screen captures of StrayStar.
Signature made by me.
My QL screen capture collection:
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