During late October, Hancock Whitney associates, clients, financial centers and our community found itself in the path of a major storm for the eighth time during the 2020 Hurricane Season. While some of our areas had escaped damage from smaller storms, many across our footprint were still reeling from damage caused by Hurricanes Laura, Sally and Delta.
At Hancock Whitney, we've earned the reputation of being the last bank to close and the first bank to open when a storm comes our way as long as it is safe and sensible for our clients and associates. Hurricane Zeta was no different. What was different about this storm was that the projected path of a nearly Category 3 hurricane was making a beeline for our two regional headquarters - New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. These are also the areas where we have the highest concentration of associates, clients and financial centers. Where we may have had only a dozen locations affected by the previous storms, this one would impact a quarter to a third of our locations and countless associates and clients.
Trees are blown over during Hurricane Zeta in Lighthouse Park at Hancock Whitney Plaza in Gulfport
On October 28th, we stayed open as late as we could to provide service to our clients, but closed many locations as early as we needed to so that we could get our associates safely home to their families. We hunkered down that evening and hoped for the best.
Hurricane Zeta came ashore that evening in Cocodrie, Louisiana and the fast-moving storm continued to wreak havoc on the New Orleans area as it moved northeast into Coastal Mississippi. The Category 2 winds toppled trees, ripped off roofs and shingles and left over 2.4 million homes and businesses without power from Louisiana to Virginia.
Hurricane Zeta's strong winds and storm surge scattered boats across Hwy 90 in Long Beach, MS
Hancock Whitney associates from across the footprint immediately sprung into action. Twelve hours after the storm hit, preparations were in motion to get relief to our communities. While nearly 80 of our financial centers were in areas without power, less than ten of our financial centers were not able to be open the day after the storm. Our associates continued to serve our clients - even while dealing with damage to their own homes.
Associates at our Gulfport Main Financial Center were ready to serve clients only 12 hours after the storm hit with only backup generator power.
Over the course of the next four days, we continued to serve our clients through various community relief efforts:
- Five different communities were provided with supplemental resources - New Orleans East; Metairie, LA; Belle Chasse, LA; Bay St. Louis, MS and Gulfport, MS
- Over 20,000 bags of ice were distributed (10 lb. bags)
- Over 9,000 hot meals were served
- 150 associates and family members volunteered their time, including over the weekend to serve meals and provide ice to our communities
Associates at the Courthouse Rd Financial Center provide ice to the community
Doing what it takes when disaster strikes is a century-old legacy we take seriously. That service and support - for clients and each other - secure the cornerstone of our corporate culture. We’re proud our roots run deep in a resilient region where the caring and selfless service we see daily multiplies exponentially on difficult days.
Our hearts go out to all suffering damage, loss, and displacement from recent weather events; and our strong, dedicated teams of associates are ready to help. The Commitment to Service that has helped clients and communities come back stronger for 120-plus years is just a call, click, or visit away. No one understands more than we do, because we were also here going through it all with you.
For the latest information on Hurricane Zeta Relief, please visit: https://www.hancockwhitney.com/zeta
For the entire gallery of images from the Zeta community relief events, please visit this link: Hurricane Zeta Community Relief Photos