Date of Award

Fall 12-2012

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Geography and Geology

First Advisor

David H. Holt

Advisor Department

Geography and Geology


Hurricane Katrina devastated the gulf coast states of Louisiana and Mississippi on August 29th, 2005. The communities of Shoreline Park and Waveland in Hancock County, Mississippi were used in this study to analyze land use change post-Hurricane Katrina using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing. These two communities are experiencing slower recovery than their counterparts along the coast. By examining high-resolution aerial imagery from 2007 and 2012, there can be comparisons that show the timeline of recovery for these two communities post-Katrina. Shoreline Park has seen 30% of its total parcels change their structural footprints from 2007 – 2012 with an increase to its residential land use of 14.4%. Empty parcels still make up the bulk of Shoreline Park with 76.89% of the total land use. Waveland experienced a 7.74% change to its residential land use, while 30% of its total parcels changed their structural footprints post-Katrina. Both Shoreline Park and Waveland are currently dominated by empty parcels. While these numbers may seem high concerning residential land use, 70 % of structures in Shoreline Park and 90 % of structures in Waveland were damaged or destroyed. The data indicate rebuilding is slower than expected seven years post event. This study shows how insurance costs, elevation, and flood zoning are directly contributed to slower rebuilding efforts. Evidence suggests that residents are migrating from their coastal locations to areas further inland.