Louisiana and Mississippi "Grand Isle" Hurricane, Sept 1909


Several Lives Known to Have Been Lost in Louisiana and Mississippi---Nearly Every Plantation Between New Orleans and Baton Rouge Damaged.

Loss Sustained by Cane Crop

Alone Is Believed to Be More Than One Million Dollars---Two Hundred Coal Barges Sunk. Some Towns Are Still Isolated.

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 21,---Seven additional deaths in Louisiana as a result of the hurricane were reported late tonight. A negro reaching Kenner, La., from Drair, La., brought the news of the death of seven persons at the piece.

Henry Schlosser, section foreman of the Illinois Central railroad, wife and child were killed when their house was blown down. Four members of a family named Wisdecker were drowned in Lake Ponchartrain.

NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 21---While the [ineligible line] with isolated points along the gulf coast of Louisiana and Mississippi may add a few to the number of persons who lost their lives as a result of yesterday's hurricane, the indications are tonight that the list of dead will not be swelled very materially.

Besides the five men who lost their lives in New Orleans yesterday, but four deaths have been definitely shown today. These included two at Jackson, Miss., one at Gramercy, La., and one at Plaquemine, La.

The day was marked by the rumors of great disasters.

The scene at Chef Menteur last night, where a Louisville & Nashville passenger train was marooned a day and a half, was a pitiful one. A representative of the Associated Press headed a party of passengers who worked their way through the swamp and marsh to a point where they were picked up in and exhausted condition by a relief train which brought them to New Orleans.

Sugar Cane Crop Suffers.

It is reported that nearly every plantation between New Orleans and Baton Rouge suffered damage. It is believed that the damage to the cane crop will amount to $1,000,000 or more.

Two hundred barges of coal, valued at about $600,000 were sunk in the Mississippi river. It is said that about 75 per cent of the coal can be recovered.

From the little aristocratic summer colonies on the Louisiana and Mississippi gulf coast come vague tales of frightful devastation and fears that many lives have been lost. The wealthy summer tourists who own pleasure craft are wont to spend much time upon them and it is possible that many have been lost. Biloxi, the Mecca of the wealthy, is still isolated and its fate is unknown, Jackson, Miss., the capital of the state is still cut off from the coast ports. The dome of the new capitol at Jackson was wrecked and the old capitol unroofed. The streets were a tangle of live wires and the fall of the trees and debris made the highways impassable.

At Vicksburg, two vessels were suck and a third was driven ashore. Their passengers were rescued. One vessel lies across the channel and has blocked navigation. How many on board is not known.

In the pretty harbors of Pascagoula and Bayou St. Louis, many slips are empty and the torn moorings tell of the fury of the wind and waves. Bath houses, pavilions, yacht slips and pleasure resorts that were nightly brilliant illuminated and the rendezvous for those who sought relaxation and amusement upon the famous gulf coast, are washed away and not a timber remains to mark their locations.

The Duluth News Tribune, Duluth, MN 22 Sept 1909



JACKSON, Miss., Sept. 21.---An equinoxial hurricane of great intensity swept upward from the Mississippi coast last night carrying death and destruction in its wake.

Several lives have been lost and property damage to the extent of several million dollars.

Wires are down in all directions and Jackson has been almost entirely cut off since midnight and no passengers have reached this city over the Illinois Central south since Monday afternoon.

Charles Clayton and Karl Wooster, blacksmiths here, were caught beneath falling walls and killed. Hundreds of buildings were unroofed. The east dome of the capitol was crushed in.

Several sections of the old capitol building roof were carried hundreds of yards. The stables at the fair grounds were demolished and several of the exhibit buildings badly damaged.

Meager reports are coming in from southern Mississippi and all carry a story similar to the damage inflicted in Jackson, save that the destruction was much more extensive as the coast was approached.

Communications Interrupted.

GALVESTON, Texas, Sept. 21,---The Galveston and Port Arthur stations of the United Wireless company have been unable to get into communication with the station of their company on Grand Island since last Saturday.

As this station is in an unprotected position on the shores of the gulf 50 miles south of New Orleans, it is feared it has been washed away by the sea.

The Duluth News Tribune, Duluth, MN 22 Sept 1909



NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 21.---Taking exception to a report said to have been circulated in various parts of the country today to the effect that New Orleans had been destroyed by a tidal wave. Mayor Behrman tonight issued the following:

"To the Associated Press: The city of New Orleans is absolutely safe. Situated 110 miles from the Gulf of Mexico, no tidal wave could reach New Orleans, either across the immense area of land between the city and the Gulf of Mexico or from the Mississippi river. The storm, while of great intensity, did no greater damage in the city than to uproot trees, dismantle a few roofs and create other damage of a minor character. "MARTIN BEHRMAN, Mayor."

The Duluth News Tribune, Duluth, MN 22 Sept 1909


Grand Isle Hurricane

[The huricane] hit southern Louisiana as a Category 3 hurricane, making landfall at Berwick, Louisiana on 20 September with a 15 foot storm surge. It became known as the Grand Isle Hurricane, after its devastation of Grand Isle, Louisiana. Heading inland on a path in between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, it produced flooding in New Orleans in a pattern similar to that of Hurricane Katrina almost a century later, but low lying areas within the city limits at the time had little residential build up, the consequences of the flooding were much less severe than those of the more recent storm. It dissipated over Southern Missouri on September 22. This storm ranks as one of the deadliest to hit the U.S. with 350 being killed with damages estimated at over 5 million dollars (in 1909 dollars).

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