Hurricane Katrina Memorial Design Narrative

Cowart Architects,  PC

710 Porter  Ave.
Ocean springs, MS  39564
(228) 872-1801
(228) 872-1843 Fax

Hurricane  Katrina  Memorial Design Narrative

Set in a park-like setting, the Hurricane Katrina Memorial contains several major elements.  The first is a black granite memorial wall facing south.  This wall is reflective black granite, and is constructed so that the top of the wall is the depth of the storm surge at the height of the storm (without additional height of wave action).  This surface of polished black granite will be etched with the names of all the dead and missing victims of Katrina once a final list is released.
Another wall spirals from the black granite wall towards a central point along an arc segment that is a golden mean spiral, the geometric construct of both a breaking wave form and the spiral arms of a hurricane.  At the center of the arc spiral is a raised platform with the American flag, a symbol of the hope and defiance shown by the Coast’s residents in the face of one of the worst natural disasters to occur in memory.  The arced wall has a glass mosaic tile image of a wave, that breaks against the black granite wall.  The tile mosaic artwork is done by local Gulf Coast artist, Elizabeth Veglia.  On the other side of the braking wave, is the glass case memorial display.  This case contains a sculptural collage of found items donated by locals.  These items where collected, and the stories behind each item recorded as part of the Memorial construction.  Additional items that were donated but not used in the glass memorial case are buried in a time capsule on the site.

The memorial is set in a cloistered meditation garden created by a deep landscape barrier around the perimeter of the arced wall.  New mature oak trees have been added to flank the walk connection to Main street, and spiral arcs of local plantings reinforce the spiral motion, of the Memorial.  It is hoped that this Memorial will stand as a powerful symbol for all who can remember this terrible event and also be a reminder to new coastal residents the power and potential danger of these storms.