Mississippi Moments Podcast

Mississippi Moments, a weekly radio program airing on Mississippi Public Broadcasting, is a partnership between the University of Southern Mississippi Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage, the Mississippi Humanities Council, and MPB.

The Podcasts

John Hairston was the Chief Operations Officer for Hancock Bank in Gulfport, when in Fall of 2005, Hurricane Katrina threatened the coast. In this episode, he remembers preparing for a hit, but predicting a miss.

When Hancock Bank's corporate headquarters was wiped out, all of the bank’s records and computers were destroyed. Hairston explains how they were able to transfer all of their operations to Chicago within four days. Hairston recalls handing out tens of millions of dollars to anyone with an IOU and giving a new meaning to the phrase "money laundering."

Direct download: MSM_453.mp3
Category:Gulf Coast history -- posted at: 3:27 PM

George Bass was the Long Beach Fire Chief when Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 2005. In this episode, he remembers meeting with his men in the final hours before the storm and how he assured them that they would be okay. Bass describes how he and his fellow firemen hunkered down as the winds from Katrina threatened to bring the station down around them. He also explains how they fanned out looking for survivors even before the storm had passed

Afterwards, it was time for the cleanup to begin. Bass recalls feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the task before them.

Direct download: MSM_452.mp3
Category:Gulf Coast history -- posted at: 3:54 PM

In August of 2005, Angelia Gray was the Food and Beverage Director of a Hattiesburg hotel.  In this episode, she explains how she and the rest of the hotel staff prepared for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina as the hotel began to fill up with evacuees.  Gray recalls riding out the storm and caring for their guests.

After Katrina was over, Gray had to cook for the all the guests.  She explains how she was able to feed so many people without electricity or water.

Of that experience, Gray remembers the spirit of cooperation among most of the guests and the bad behavior of a few.

Direct download: MSM_451.mp3
Category:Hurricane Katrina -- posted at: 3:52 PM

Tommy Longo was Mayor of Waveland when Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in August of 2005. In the episode, he remembers the city before storm and the devastation after.

As Hurricane Katrina made landfall in the early morning hours of August 29th, 2005, Longo and his family took shelter in the Waveland command post. He recalls the group’s struggle to survive as the floodwaters rose.

Longo was born and raised in the city of Waveland.  He discusses how Hurricane Katrina has changed the he thinks about his home town. He also recalls their efforts to convince everyone to evacuate the area and how he convinced one lady to leave her cats.

Photo Credit: photosfromkatrina.com


Direct download: MSM_450.mp3
Category:Gulf Coast history -- posted at: 3:34 PM

In 1983, a hazardous-waste disposal company attempted to build a toxic waste dump in the town of Shuqualak in Noxubee County, Mississippi. In this episode, Martha Blackwell describes how local citizens organized to fight back and were able to have a five year moratorium placed on chemical disposal sites in Mississippi.

 In 1991, after the moratorium expired, plans were announced to construct three toxic waste facilities in Noxubee County.  Blackwell recalls how she learned about a hazardous-waste dump to be constructed on her neighbor’s land. She details how their group fought to keep these facilities out of Noxubee county and why they felt that having three high capacity sites would lead to waste from across the country being brought to Mississippi for disposal.

In a podcast extra, Blackwell credits the Choctaw Indians with preventing the plans to construct a dump site on reservation land.


Direct download: MSM_449.mp3
Category:Conservation -- posted at: 1:48 PM

Charlie Barrett is the former Mayor of Shuqualak (Sugar Lock). It this episode, he recounts the story of how his great grandfather donated the land for the train station. He also recalls how the farmers would bring their cotton to be ginned on Saturday mornings and stay all day.

As a boy, Barrett knew all of the merchants in Shuqualak.  He remembers one who would speak to him in Choctaw. Years later, Barrett, now a young business owner himself, struggled to make ends meet until one day, an old merchant made him the offer of a lifetime.

Photo credit: hickoryridgestudio49.blogspot.com

Direct download: MSM_448.mp3
Category:Mississippi History -- posted at: 3:19 PM

John Ellzie Carr joined the Tupelo Police Department in 1921 and served as the town's chief of police from 1925 until 1952.  In this episode, Dudley Carr remembers his father’s natural talent for law enforcement. He recalls the city’s primitive jail and even more primitive alarm system.

In 1932, the infamous bank robber, Machine Gun Kelly held up the Citizen’s National Bank of Tupelo. Dudley Carr explains how the robbery inspired the city to buy its own Thompson submachine gun.

In a podcast extra, Carr looks back with pride at his father’s legacy and what it’s meant to his own career.


Direct download: MSM_447.mp3
Category:Mississippi History -- posted at: 4:37 PM

Emma Foret was the wife of a Navy hospital corpsman. In this episode she recalls their life together and how she and the children coped with her husband’s absence.

She also discusses the special bond between the Navy and Marine Corp and how the wives of these servicemen depended on each other.

PODCAST EXTRA: Even in times of peace, conflicts can arise at a moment’s notice.  Foret remembers her husband’s role in two such events and how the Navy kept the families informed.

Direct download: MSM_446.mp3
Category:Military History -- posted at: 4:22 PM

Mary Louise Tarver was born in 1918 on Elm’s Court Plantation in Natchez.  In this episode, she recalls her Uncle Will’s garden and his prickly relationship with her mother.

Growing up on a farm taught Mary Louise Tarver to enjoy simple pleasures.  She remembers riding horseback to the Homochitto Swamp to spend the day fishing.

For Mary Louise Tarver, farm life meant learning to be self-sufficient. She describes how her mother would use apple peels to make vinegar, and use the vinegar to make pickles.

PODCAST EXTRA: During the Great Depression, some schools began serving students a hot lunch using food items provided by government.  Tarver recalls how the lunch lady did the best she could with what she had on hand.


Direct download: MSM_444.mp3
Category:foodways -- posted at: 4:36 PM

At the beginning of the Twentieth Century, Italian emigrants were encouraged to come to the Mississippi Delta to farm. In this episode, John Bassie of Bolivar County shares his family’s story of coming to America and how they taught him to love their adopted country.

For those Italian emigrants who made a home in the Mississippi Delta, the Fourth of July was always a big deal. Bassie recalls how his family celebrated with lots of eating and singing. He remembers those Independence Day celebrations as a cultural melting pot of food, music, and fun that involved the entire community.

Photo: Digital Public Library of America

Direct download: MSM_445.mp3
Category:Mississippi History -- posted at: 4:06 PM