James E. Miller


House before Katrina. House one month after Katrina. House ten months after Katrina. House three years after Katrina. Current house Peaceful

Which Jim Miller?

  • 2014 Relocating to StillWater, south of Dadeville, AL.
  • 2010+ Retired.
  • 2009 Back in the classroom in Spring term for a single course.
  • 2006-08 Katrina reconstruction and a little travel.
  • 2003-05 Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Park Campus, Long Beach MS.
  • 1992-03 Professor of Computer Science and Statistics at The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg MS.
  • 1990-04 Director/co-director ASEE/NASA Summer Faculty Fellowship Program at Stennis MS.
  • 1987-01 Consultant to USN at NSTL with NORDA that was redesignated as NORAL before changing name to NRL while NSTL was becoming SSC, Stennis MS.
  • 1986-92 Chairman and Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg MS.
  • 1982-97 Editor of the ACM SIGCSE Bulletin.
  • 1979-86 Chairman and Associate Professor of Systems Science at the University of West Florida, Pensacola FL.
  • 1979 Computer Systems Analyst at Headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC.
  • 1976-79 Chairman and Associate Professor of the Faculties of Mathematics and Statistics, Physics, Aeronautical Systems, and Systems Science at the University of West Florida, Pensacola FL.
  • 1972-76 Chairman and Associate Professor of Systems Science at the University of West Florida, Pensacola FL.
  • 1970-72 Graduate Student at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette LA.
  • 1968-70 Assistant Professor of Systems Science at the University of West Florida, Pensacola FL.
  • 1965-68 Systems Engineer with IBM, Birmingham AL.

  • 2005 Katrina

    It was a year of loss. In July we evacuated for hurricane Dennis to our backup house in Diamondhead. When we returned to Gulfport we received word that our daughter Debbie had died. That was the big loss for the year. Katrina followed (too soon), demanding our time and effort. Katrina was always a major problem that was going to work out just fine. Our house in Gulfport had two feet of water on the second floor, the wind took the roof in the greatroom, and a large chunk of the chimney (6'x4'x2.5') ended up on the kitchen counter. Someone's dock busted out the second story deck entrance to the bedroom. The Diamondhead backup did much better. The three large pines that were blown down mostly missed the house and the storm surge would have had to have been at least 4 inches higher to have taken out carpets. Tentative plans are to level the Gulfport house and rebuild (elevate). We enjoyed that house and the backyard. My office at school was in one of many buildings to receive significant damage and there was a major scramble to move the campus to a new location in order to salvage the Fall semester. We pulled it off even though everyone had to deal with the storm. If you didn't lose your house then you probably had long term guests that did. One of the things that was done at school that I thought was an interesting (pure therapy) move was to encourage everyone to write about a Katrina experience. My offering (this is not great literature) documented the first trip back to the house and the search for our 13 year old Gray Cat. At Diamondhead, my computer became a companion for Gray Cat. "Yard art" that had appeared at the destroyed house was claimed as a self portrait.


    Diane and I have been pushing to rebuild. They started taking the house down 3/25/06 and finished up 3/27/06. We kept the chimney. This is a very slow and frustrating process. The first major problem is getting plans drawn for an elevated house where the elevation has not been determined. That process started in January. 8/17 We were able to get a set of plans that had enough detail in them that we could start getting cost estimates. We guessed the elevation would be at 22 feet but a newspaper article 8/25 stated that it was going to be 22.5 feet. I've marked some elevations on the chimney so that we can get a feel for how high that really is. Project still alive with cost the next major consideration. Official word 9/5/06 is that the elevation will be 22.5 feet. Now we can finish the drawings and get meaningful cost figures. 9/11/06 Rumor of the day dealt with insurance for projected house and we had to move quickly to stay out of the wind pool (the projected $1,000 per month would have been a deal breaker). 10/6 Fifty days after plans went out for bids the first cut on building costs are in and the house is "mostly dead." Time to make a backup plan. 10/15 It is now 412 days since Katrina hit. Diane and I see a sign for an open house on a new home in Long Beach, look it over and make an offer on it. 10/16 We agree to the counter offer to our counter offer. 10/26 We close on the house. 11/1 We have moved in. 12/6 Paperwork/details on house purchase completed. On Christmas day we declared Katrina essentially over. Interesting times.


    Looks like Katrina is not over. Purchasing furniture is a pain in this environment and this introduces a new phase in working with the insurance company. Because of the flood vs. wind issue only the furniture in certain rooms is covered by insurance but we need furniture for a complete house. The insurance company (State Farm) works with us. December the official FEMA maps are made public and the city of Gulfport now says the build back height is 15 feet. 12/6/07 We find out the build back height is 16 feet. There are still traces of Katrina mud on Christmas decorations.


    Katrina makes tax time a challenge. We continue to do things to make the new house better with most of the effort going into yard work. The chimney on the slab had become dangerous so we took it down. We followed with a "slab" party where a couple dozen folks came out to watch the boat parade. A Christmas surprise was delivered Christmas eve. A quilt" made by one of Diane's grandmothers and that we had assumed was non-salvageable appeared. A niece had worked with the quilting society of Georgia to clean it. Kind of nice. when a nonreplaceable loss is reversed.


    Spring term I get back in the classroom. Gray cat is doing fine a year after a life threatning stroke. Four years after Katrina a quilt made by my mother is returned after a salvage effort.


    Gray cat doing fine. February purchase small completely furnished villa in StillWaters (south of Dadeville AL). The picture of the house before Katrina used in this web page arrives in the mail 7/17/10.


    Gray cat seems to have lost hearing but otherwise quite healthy for a 19 year old. Slab removed and lot for sale. Surprise salvage was a large terra cotta planter that must have washed on to the property during Katrina.


    4/2 Lost Gray Cat. Work has started on repairing the building where my office was when Katrina hit. Traded villa in StillWaters for a house on the water also in StillWaters. My "to do" list got a lot longer.


    We did some modifications to the StillWater house and completed furnishing it. Starting to spend alot of time up there. Doing some traveling. New places included the Azores, Australia, New Zealand and Copenhagen.


    Looks like new address will become 58 Mallard Lane, Dadeville, AL 36853. Surprise for July was Chinese Drywall discovered in Long Beach house that was for sale. Will try to avoid the apparent $200,000 loss. November: Can hold loss to $150,000. December: Interesting development - might not have a loss.


    Against really bad odds we got agreement from the drywall manufacturers to remediate the house and then a total stranger used this website to find me and make an offer on the house. Drywall loss now looks like $25,000 and a lot of aggravation. On the same day the contract on the house arrived a contract for the Gulfport lot appeared. Still finding traces of Katrina mud.


    Year off to a good start. Very nice vacation to Peru followed by cruise that added Chile, Argentina and Uruguay. House and lot sold. Time to declare Katrina over. Still no reason to think you ever get over the death of a child. December turns up a Katrina damaged coin collection and more Katrina mud on Christmas decorations.


    January brought a cruise on the Oasis with stops in Hati, Jamaica and Mexico. May was a land tour of Ireland followed by a cruise with ports in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and France. A week in North Carolina was followed by Panama Canal trip that added Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica to our list of countries visited.


    Katrina mud found on picture that had been displayed for the previous 12 years. A six month lease on a rental in Diamondhead MS gave us a little more time closer to where our son and his family are located. Completed a five day trip to New York (sang at Lincoln Center) and a second trip to Alaska consisting of an interior tour plus a costal cruise. Diane and I are now singing in three active groups. 12/13 discover a 104 piece souvenir spoon collection that had been my mothers and had had made it through Katrina.


    The year is starting off with a remodeling project that should give a couple months of being locked out of the kitchen. Singing performances are schedueled for Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center. A cruise late summer should add Croatia to our list of 45 countries visited.

    The Lake Martin Backyard

    A magnificent adult Bald Eagle hunted this part of the lake for a couple days and it became time to start documenting this back yard. Canada geese, mallards, great herons and crows can be seen on most days of the year as can squirrel and chipmunks. This is not going to be as easy as I first thought because there are lots of ducks I can't identify. Deer are starting to be a problem by determing what and where I can plant things. Caught and released a black rat snake that my first estimate on length was eight feet. StillWater AL is similar to Diamondhead MS. Beaver attacted a neighbor's dock. Bear have been reported. 12/5/18 Eagle is back and landed in a tree 100 ft. from the house. Deer in the yard and two pair of Hooded Merganser in the lake that has been lowered 7 ft. from full pool.

    The Gulfport Backyard

    The backyard is not unique to the coast of Mississippi but perhaps different enough to be interesting. It offers one of the best locations for viewing the Christmas boat parade (DeckAfterKatrina) and that has always been a decent excuse for a party. Fishing is the primary diversion and there is usually a line out while activities such as mowing the grass are going on. Bayou Bernard has yielded red fish, black drum, mullet, croakers, large mouth bass, striped bass, speckled trout, catfish, (stonecat, hardhead, gafftop, channel, and blue), redear sunfish (that's "red" ear or shellcracker), bluegill, green sunfish, pin fish (good for bait and not much else), pompano (seriously small), does jelly fish count?, needle nose gar, short nose gar, and a couple eels. Crabbing is difficult because of otters. Other creatures that have been spotted (but not caught) include alligator, red? fox (1/19/02), nutria, possom, raccoon, and of course squirrel. Water fowl include anhinga that look sort of like a cormorant and are locally refered to as "snake birds", osprey, king fishers, green heron, great blue herons, blue herons, yellow-crowned night-herons, egrets (cattle, snowy, and great), brown pelicans, gulls (wide variety), mallards, Canada geese, least terns, and black skimmers. The cold snap the first week in October/2000 brought 67 great egrets to a group of pine trees on the other side of the bayou for one of those picture perfect moments. The two surprises Spring of 2001 were a two week period where the only thing that was getting caught was channel cat in the 24 to 30 inch range and a wierd sight of a group of 24 anhinga that were making a sweep of the bayou. Ten minutes after seeing the birds swim down the bayou a group of 54 came flying back. The most of this type of bird that I had seen previously in the area was three. A four-foot gator was spotted and became the smallest seen in the past eight years. (Big one was pushing 12 feet.) Fall of 2001 has turned up my first otter in the yard, my first gafftop catfish (a really weird looking fish), a 52 inch needle nose gar, and a 21.5-inch speckled trout. The day before the Super Bowl turned up four mallards in the yard and a 32.5-inch blue catfish that took forever to clean. The Christmas break 2002 produced a 38.5-inch blue cat and another 52 inch gar. New for summer of 2003 was an ibis and a stand of cardinal flowers. Fall 2004 a large blue heron stood in the yard waiting for bait fish to jump in the yard. When we figured out what he was doing we did likewise and fished with live bait. 2/12/05 The water was like glass and the reflections in first light with the reds and purples was kind of neat. The next time I looked out there was something going on. Thirteen pelicans and approximately 30 anhinga were feeding while three blue herons flew 10 feet off the water like planes protecting ships. They were joined by a small green heron. The next morning was more of the same but this time there were 15 pelicans that mostly sat, 3 blue herons that flew protection, 3 mallards that swam up stream and a flotilla of anhingas (58 by actual count) that swam downstream with no diving or splashing in a long column that was never more than four abreast. 5/23/05 First double sighting of gators (6.5'and 8'). As they swam toward each other the double strikes on two lines turned out to be the same fish hooked twice. After landing the fish I had a chance to watch the gators (they never came closer than 50 feet to each other) but was distracted by a large turtle that lumbered out of an azalea to bite the fish once and then retreat. 8/29/05 Katrina. 8/25/06 A number of folks are reporting Katrina melons (gourd shaped watermelons) and we have a good crop growing next to the slab. The thing I have enjoyed most about the yard is that on any day I can see something that I have never seen before. Today that was a place in the yard where I could stand and get (because of the stuff Katrina took out) my first view of all of the 200+ feet of land adjacent to the bayou. 9/17/06 Persimmons are getting ripe as are the last of the Katrina melons. 12/26/08 Chimney is now down and the lot looks good. I was working this morning (with fishing lines out) and heard a crash in the water which usually means a pelican. But this time it was too loud. As I moved into position to see where the bird had landed a glance at the wave moving away from the impact spot triggered the thought "200 pound pelican?" Now I was confused and the water didn't look right. Just then the largest dolphin I have ever seen rolled up exposing it's entire length, followed immediately with a second surfacing that exposed another equally large dolphin doing a synchronized movement. A third smaller dolphin was spotted up stream. 1/23/09 Picked up a 26" - 8 lb. red fish. 1/24/09 Single 16" trout. 3/16/10 Single 35.5" Blue Cat and first sighting of a pair of pied-billed grebes. 6/7/11 Five osprey at same time. 7/22/11 44" needlenose gar on light tackle. 10/1/11 Single large black drum. 1/6/12 First flounder. 5/30/12 First Spanish Mackerel. 2/13/13 27 inch Blue Cat.

    This page is maintained by James E. Miller