story and photos by Ellis Anderson
The museum is housed in the city's sole surviving historic school, a building that received a state-of-the-art restoration after Hurricane Katrina. Founded in 2013, the museum began as a grass-roots volunteer effort led by civic leaders Basil Kennedy and LiLi Stahler Murphy (who was serving then as a Waveland Alderman).
For now, until the new museum finds its funding feet, all staffing - including the director's job - are volunteer positions. Kathy Pinn is no stranger to community service. She has a long record of volunteering for numerous civic organizations, including serving as president of both the Coleman Avenue Coalition and the Waveland Community Coalition.
Kathy Pinn says the museum building captured her heart - and imagination - when she first drove down Coleman Avenue over twenty years ago.
"It was such a cool building even then, shut down and before any renovations," says Pinn. "I thought that it needed to be an active building with children running in and out of it."
As the new director, Pinn's going to have the opportunity to make that dream a reality.
"For residents, it's a place to honor their courage and dignity. It's almost like a war documentary because it shows the adversity and our struggle, how we came to terms with the loss and survived. For us, it offers a kind of healing."
"I see the museum as a positive thing, offering a beautiful message."