Multimedia StoryTelling

By the students of MCJ300 at The University of Southern Mississippi

Posts Tagged ‘tornado

Screams, Sirens & Chainsaws: The Tornado of Hattiesburg

leave a comment »

The last nine days in Hattiesburg can be summed up in three words: screams, sirens and chainsaws.

February 10th, 2013. Location: My apartment. People: Me, 2 friends (Ashley and Miles) and my boyfriend (Brad.)


“Is this a tornado?!” “Holy **** that’s a tornado!” The four of us stood on the balcony (yes, the 2nd floor) of my apartment and stared at the tornado. We were quiet for about 5 hours. (That’s what it felt like.) Soon the screams started coming from my neighbors. “Come down here!! Get off the top floor!!” We ran downstairs where some people were screaming for us to get inside, some people were screaming for us to get into a car and drive in the opposite direction and I know my mom was screaming for me to answer my phone. When I finally did answer the phone I am positive that she didn’t want to hear what I had to say: “I’m fine… But yeah… I’m staring at a tornado.” And that’s what we did. We stood in the parking lot of my apartment and watched a massive tornado rip through our city. As soon as the tornado was out of sight, my friend said I should take pictures. I immediately thought, “Duh, Jana.” I ran upstairs and started packing my camera bag and lacing up my boots. I ran back outside to find my friends excitedly discussing what we’d just witnessed. I looked at my boyfriend and said, “I have to go take pictures now.” He stared at me, took a deep breath and with a commanding voice said, “Ok, we have to go now! Who’s coming?!” At that point all I remember is confusion as my two friends, my boyfriend and I threw raincoats, boots and camera equipment at one another. We hopped in Miles’ Trailblazer and drove straight to campus, where we knew the tornado was minutes earlier.


As I stood in the middle of Hardy Street and stared at a truck smashed in the median and a gas station ripped apart, the sirens started. Cop cars, firetrucks and ambulances were surrounding the area in minutes. And the sirens lasted for what seemed like forever. For hours all I could hear was the shutter on my camera and sirens.


The next morning I stood on my balcony at 5:30 and begged the sun to come up. I was desperate to start making more photos. And it’s a good thing I was out so early. Chainsaws. Hattiesburg can claim one thing, for sure. We have chainsaws and we have people who know how to use them. The next morning as I ventured out with my camera I was blown away. There were no more screams and no more sirens. There were chainsaws. Everywhere. Hattiesburg quickly became infested with volunteers. I walked for miles and miles that Monday morning and I saw the same thing everywhere I went. People with chainsaws, wheelbarrows and rakes. There was not a moment wasted. The people of Hattiesburg, USM and Mississippi have blown my mind with the effort they have put into cleaning up the devastation.

Of all the sounds that came with the tornado, the chainsaw is my favorite. We will rebuild.



Written by ijanah

February 18, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Tornado Clean Up Efforts

leave a comment »

The University of Southern Mississippi has never been closer than they have in this past week. With the storm that stuck campus Sunday February 10, the community came together to recover and clean up together. Students had the opportunity to come and help with a campus wide clean up on the Wednesday after the tornado struck. Hundreds of students came to aid there campus, to give back what they could to as campus that has given them so much to look forward to. Although many of the buildings toward the front of the campus have been severely damaged, or condemned, this will not stop the Southern Miss spirit from rebuilding and restoring what we have. The scars will always be there, but the Southern Miss spirit will never die.

This is a video of the tornado that ripped its way across Hattiesburg and through our campus here at USM. This is probably the best video I have seen of the tornado. The chaser in the car gets really good footage of the campus at the end of the video.

Written by masondavis91

February 18, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Southern Miss Family Comes Together

leave a comment »

In the wake of the disastrous tornado that ripped through the campus of the university of Southern Mississippi, students assembled in full force to show their love for their school.

Sunday, February 10 will be a day that the students of Southern Miss will never forget. A terrible, unexpected twister manhandled its way throughout the city of Hattiesburg and the campus of Southern Miss, destroying several historic buildings and leaving behind a scar that, at the time, seemed permanent.

The most notable landmark destroyed was the Ogletree Alumni House. The house had just celebrated its centennial birthday, as it was built in 1912. It served as one of the oldest buildings on campus. 100 years of tradition was demolished in a span of about two hours.

The three music buildings on campus received the remaining majority of destruction, as the Marsh Fine Arts building, the Mannoni Performing Arts Center, and the Jazz station were all severely damaged. Jean-Paul Brion, a Jazz Studies major at USM, was left in disbelief at the sight of the jazz station being torn apart. “For us music majors, that was our home. That’s where we spend all of our time. We don’t have anywhere else to go. I don’t know what we’re going to do now.”

The school had arrived upon one of its darkest hours in history. However, the USM student body had something to say about that. They were not going to let one storm destroy their home.

The day following the tragic incident, USM student Ned Nelson decided to take action. Through the power of the Internet and social networking, Nelson rapidly organized a campus-wide clean up by creating a group on Facebook. What started out as one man’s attempt to give back to his school quickly escalated into a Facebook movement of a gathering of classmates to mend the broken wounds to what they call home. The event on Facebook attracted over a thousand USM students ready to do anything they can to get their school back up and running.

On Wednesday, February 13, just three days after the tornado, the students gathered in the parking lot of the Theatre and Dance building on the USM campus. It was organized by a sign-in table, at which every student signed in with their student ID, and was split into teams to go to different parts of campus. Once signed in, a student was given a color-coordinated wristband, a pair of gloves, and a plastic trash bag.

The final tally of students that signed in was 940. The students collectively gathered 1,450 bags full of debris left by the storm, making an impact of over 62,000 dollars for their university. “This school has given so much to me in my four years here, and I’ll do anything I can to repay the favor. I will be forever proud to call this campus my home,” said senior Sports Management major Craig Crews.

This just goes to show us that even in the wake of a disaster, the Southern Miss family comes together to show its love for its school. “Southern Miss is a family that draws from all walks of life. No matter what fraternity or sorority you’re in, no matter what you believe is right or wrong, there is one thing that brings us all together, and that’s the love we have for this school and this community. I’ve never been prouder to be a Southern Miss student,” said Nelson.

The students at Southern Miss are humbled and proud to have helped their university, and have all been made better through it all.

Written by tnrwtsn

February 18, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Posted in multimedia, Video

Tagged with , , ,

Tornado Benefit Concert Takes the Place of Mardi Gras Party

leave a comment »

Tornado Benefit Concert

Stormy skies and debris littered roads didn’t stop people from piling into Benny’s Boom Boom Room Monday night to support disaster relief efforts.

Less than 24 hours after a devastating tornado ripped through Hattiesburg communities, the Boom Boom Room downtown held a tornado benefit concert to support those who were affected by the devastating natural disaster.

Shortly after the tornado, bar owner Ben Shemper reconsidered the Mardi Gras themed event scheduled to take place Monday night. “There were so many people in Hattiesburg who just lost everything. It seemed really vein to have a big party less than 24 hours after the tornado just because it was Mardi Gras,” he said.

After observing the damage the tornado caused to his hometown Sunday night, Shemper decided to cancel the Mardi Gras themed party and have a tornado benefit concert in its place.“Ben sent me a text right after the I heard about the tornado Sunday night with one word- Benefit?” Jamie Jordan, singer of Recreational Use, said. “That’s all he had to say; I was in.”

There was a five-dollar cover at the door, with all proceeds going towards the disaster relief fund. “I’m personal friends with the guys from both bands,” Shemper said. “Some of them experienced damage personally from the tornado, and they were happy to support the cause and perform for free.”

The bill for the night included local bands The Deltamatics,  Purpetrator, Joel Vance from Rooster Blues and Recreational Use. “I was really surprised at how good the music lineup was on such short notice,” Erin Rauenhorst, Hattiesburg resident, said. “It’s really great that those bands wanted to give their time and energy to do a good thing.”

In addition to the door charge, several people made large personal donations to the cause. “At the end of the night, we had raised over $600,” Shemper said. “The donations were unbelievable.” On top of the money made from door cover, donations and bar tips, Shemper personally matched all the money made that night.

“It’s a warm feeling at the end of the day, when members of a community support each other, and you see so much togetherness and charity. It’s very sentimental to me,” Shemper said. The tornado benefit brought in close to 100 people.

Monday night’s success encouraged Shemper to hold another benefit Saturday night with a portion of the cover charged at the door going toward the relief fund.“After everything, we raised over $1,500 for disaster relief,” he said.

Shemper has not decided where he will distribute the money raised yet. He says he wants to wait and see where the funds are needed the most before he makes a decision.

Written by Shanning Celeste Newell

February 18, 2013 at 4:43 am

A New Perspective on the Tornado

leave a comment »

In the wake of the recent tornado, many media outlets mentioned the fact that our university was on a Mardi Gras break. In their initial report, CNN even went so far as to assume and report that there were no students on campus at all. Only later in the report did they correct it to the accurate estimate of 500-800 students. I was one of those 500-800 students. But I was included in an even smaller number of those students because I was required to be here because of my job as a resident assistant.
Because I had chosen to take he Easter holiday off, I was expected to be present in the residence halls for Mardi Gras break. I acted as the alert system for many residents who did not even know a tornado warning had been issued. It is part of our policy during weather emergencies to knock on each and every door and inform residents that they are required to come out of their rooms and move to the first floor hallway, which is generally designated as the safest area in the building.
When I originally formed the idea for this post, I had planned on posting a video of the tornado taken by another RA in the McCarty residence hall, Lucas Gandy. However, when I searched his Facebook page for it I only found this statement: “I’ve been flooded with messages asking why I’ve hidden my tornado video. A number of things have happened but here’s the final conclusion for my footage: I gave exclusive rights to Sr. Vice President for AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions to use my video. He travels sponsoring tornado safety at his educational seminars. He also wishes to present it at the American Meteorological Society’s storm warning conference this summer. I appreciate all of the kind comments and support that was made on my video but I feel that it’s in better hands and can help a lot more people in his care.”

Commenters on other blogs where it had been featured suspected that it had been removed because it violated the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act by showing identifiable students in a residence hall setting. It is unfortunate that the video is no longer public, because it was an excellent example of documentary style storytelling, and of a weather emergency from an RA’s point of view.

Written by jessicaeking

February 17, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Hattiesburg Hit with EF4 tornado

leave a comment »

Shortly after 5p.m. on February 10th,2013  Hattiesburg experience the wrath of a EF4 tornado. It is a day  Hattiesburg residents will remember years from now.

The tornado had winds of 170 MPH. Hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed. The tornado damaged eight buildings on the Southern Miss campus. The alumni House was destroyed. Over 60 people were treated at hospitals. The good news is there were no fatalities.

The majority of Southern Miss students were off campus. There were some students who stayed on campus. They were brought to the first floor of their resident halls during the tornado. Jimmy Johns provided sandwiches for residents of Roberts Hall.

There were road blocks around campus, and students that were not on campus received an eagle alert warning them to stay away from campus until further notice. There were cars that have been severely damaged Sunday afternoon. President Barack Obama declared a federal disaster in Mississippi.

There was a campus cleanup Wednesday for students and volunteers that wanted to help clean the campus. Hundreds of volunteers came out to help. Volunteers meet at the Theater and Dance Building and were assigned certain areas to clean up.  Much of the trees and debris that blocked the roads were cleaned up.

Scott Peak of the Base hunters storm chase team recorded the video below of the tornado as it made its way into Hattiesburg.

Written by Anthony P

February 17, 2013 at 9:30 am

Multimedia story depicts the damage to Hattiesburg, MS, and Southern Miss from a EF-4 tornado

leave a comment »

Following is a multimedia slide show about the Feb. 10 tornado that ravaged Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and Southern Miss. I am posting it here for several reasons. First, it’s a great example of how powerful a slide show can be without words. The pictures in this piece tell the story, and they tell it very well. You a stronger than me if you don’t tear up watching this.

We will be doing slide shows in class, as well as videos. This one demonstrates some of the techniques that we will be using: Vivid photography, a variety of pictures and types of pictures, a variety of shots (close-ups, long-shots). Also, it employs text well to tell its story.

It is a powerful piece of multimedia storytelling, and I hope you find it cathartic as we mourn the losses from the tornado. One of my friends shared this piece on Facebook. It was posted on the YouTube account of someone called Dave Brown. I wish I could say more to give whoever created this credit for this work. Go ahead and watch it. Be sure to have some tissues handy.

Written by bloggingmom67

February 13, 2013 at 5:08 pm