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Rising from Ruin is an on-going MSNBC.com special report chronicling two coastal Mississippi towns, Bay St. Louis and Waveland, as they rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

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This project is evolving. Our daily dispatches coverage has been retired. Click here to see what happened in the area between mid October and January 1, 2006.

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The free food and goods being poured into this region so that its residents will have a lifeline that covers their basic day-to-day needs are going away. Some outlets could be gone in a month; three months at the outside.

"It's a process," says Bryan Adam, director of emergency management services for the area.  Hancock County, which includes Waveland and Bay St. Louis, has drawn up a 30-60-90 recovery plan that outlines what free goods and services will be shut down. 

"We need to get our economy back," Adams said, and businesses might be reluctant to start up again when all their customers are getting hand-outs.  However, Adams also stressed that "nothing is written in stone" as far as the recovery plan goes.  "If the need is still there, then of course we won't be shutting anything down," he said.  How will he know?  "We'll just know," he said.

Adams also squashed a popular rumor here:  that FEMA is making some feeding groups leave or has told them to stay away.  "FEMA don't shut down nobody," Adams said. 

Most of the feeding and free goods distribution stations have been contacted about the recovery plan and know they'll possibly have to leave within 90 days, Adams said; the plan was announced during a public town hall meeting.

Shutting down these free services is a dicey issue.  On the one hand, people need to eat and need the basics of everyday life, like water, ice and soap. But it's also true that these two cities are showing at least a glimmer of recovery and there needs to be plans in place to help that happen.  "It's a delicate balance," Adams said.

One issue of concern is that the feeding and distribution centers are increasingly being used by workers in the area that have come down to help rebuild. That's angered some, Adams said.  "I say, if they want to eat, let them eat," he said.

The best-known feeding center is the New Waveland Cafe that is serving its last meal today before leaving.  Rumors have circulated all around the place that FEMA or others had pushed them out.  Not the case, Adams said.  "They only planned to be here for three weeks originally" and ended up staying three months, he noted.  "People will miss them, I'm sure of that."

Adams and his staff grasp at any statistic that can be used to show that the people and the area are starting to rise up from this ruin.  One such story involves the re-opening of the Wal-Mart in Waveland.  When that happened, "visitors to the free market at the New Waveland cafe, where people could literally fill shopping carts with non-perishable grocery items, went dramatically down," said David Greiser, a spokesman for the emergency management center.

"The people want to be self-sufficient," Adams said.  "And we're doing everything we can to make sure that happens."

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45 COMMENTS

yes, I agree the freebies have to end sometime. Without sounding cruel, these people must once again learn to stand on their feet and provide for themselves. I have seen too many people fall into the "welfare runt" and take on an attitude that they are ENTITLED to lay back while the rest of the working world provides for them. Give them assistance, give them a helping hand, but make them take some kind of initiative.

We all want to see that area return to some sort of normalcy. Let's not forget that this happened to hard-working people. They are ready for their lives to get back to normal. They are ready for the handouts to stop. It gives them hope.

In a perfect world, people should be able to stand on their own after 30,60, or 90 days, but with no home, no money, and no resources, it is very hard to stand on your own. There are still people living in tents, it is very difficult to keep food, or cook food when living in a tent. If you had no utilities, or sanitary conditions to accomidate cooking, how would you manage?

People should get help to get them back on their feet
however, they must help themselves by doing whatever
it takes to resume their lifestyle: work, work and
work no matter what kind of job it is for the moment,
keep pressing on until you're back on your feet! This
way they can be of help to someone else and not a burden to their fellowman.

I know that the freebies need to stop but when you don't have a home, job or any money coming in it is hard.We were lucky but when you go to Waveland and the Pass it is heart wrinching. Those people REALLY need some help.They have always held their own and are not asking for handouts. There is a different in handouts and in need. We help all the other countries but now WE need help. Until you walk a mile in their shoes, if they are lucky enough to have saved a pair, don't judge or make decisions for them.

As long as there are freebies, there will be people to take advantage of it. The rest of us have had times of trouble and trauma, yet we ALONE!!! pulled ourselves out of it and survived. Why can't they? I do have sympathy for their plight, as I would any person who lost everything, but they are not the only people who have suffered in this world. Others have made it without help from anybody, so let them do the same. We are giving away too much, supporting them too much, using our resources to help those who sit on their rearends and do nothing to support themselves. I am sick and tired of "you owe me" attitude. So many of these people are ending up with more than they ever had before this happened. They are looking upon this as hitting the lottery and they are taking advantage of everyone! I personally will not help those who will not attempt to help themselves.

KLPalmer, I could not have said it better myself.

A HAND UP NOT A HAND-OUT IS THE CORRECT COURSE OF ACTION AND I BELIEVE THAT IS THE DESIRE OF MOST OF THE PEOPLE IN THE DEVISTATED GULF COAST REGION -- THEY ARE A PROUD SELF RELIENT PEOPLE THEY ARE CARING GIVING COMMUNITIES THAT WERE SIMPLY OVERRAN WITH DISTRUCTION AND SUFFERING AS LONG AS HELP IS NEEDE GIVE IT -- THEY WILL STAND ON THIER ONW FEET AS SOON AS YHEY CAN - I KNOW AS I WAS RAISED IN HOUSTON AND ANCESTERS HAIL FROM NEW IBERIA, LA.

Everyone is right, its time to stop the handouts. It seem to me that noone is trying to help themselves. If my home was destoryed i would not sit around an wait on someone else to take care of me. If there are no jobs there then maybe its time to move elsewhere. Why is it Waveland an Bay St. Louis are the only ones not still at a standstill. Wake up an move on.

I honestly cannot believe the harsh words in these postings. I grew up on the MS Gulf Coast, and nearly my entire family still lives there, and none of use could have ever imagined the devastation brought by this storm. After speaking to my parents, it is my understanding that from Biloxi to Bay St. Louis (30+ miles), you can literally count the number of structures left on two hands. The residents do want to get back on their feet, but how do you do that when you've lost everything? No only have the residents lost their homes, but there are very few grocery stores to shop in. The roads are so devastated that many people are isolated from the stores that are open, having to spend hours in traffic to get to them. And imagine going to the store and being thrilled to see fresh apples, bananas, or tomatoes...these items most of us take for granted have become luxury items to the people of the MS Gulf Coast. Then there is the issue of jobs...so many people were employed by the casinos or the restaurants, stores, and other businesses that developed as a result of the casino industry. Even residents with very good jobs - doctors, lawyers, etc. - are faced with the daunting task of completely rebuilding their businesses. My parents liken living on the MS Gulf Coast right now to living in a third world country. Why are these posts so cruel and unsympathetic to those suffering in our own country?

I am certainly glad they are addressing a plan to leave the city. The problem is there was no plan upon arrival hence there are services there that many people are still unable to access. It is impossible for us to compare a person tragedy that people have suffered with the suffering of thousands. We should help as long as necessary-would we not for anybody else-why not our own!

I recently visited the coast this weekend, after seeing hundreds of signs at local businesses advertising that they are hiring employees, I have no sympathy for people who are still recieving hand-outs. These businesses are within walking distances of areas that were demolished by Katrina. I think these people need to get on their feet, pack up their tents and get to work.

KLPalmer, you say you have seen "many people fall into the welfare rut". Given your right-wing perspective, I seriously doubt that. Peter

it should be fazed out gradually.
im not really fond of setting up a plan to be "helping-out" for the next 2 years...
state aid should continue, but the federal governments job should be about done...

MY FEELINGS ARE IF THERE STILL IS A NEED FOR HELP,THEN I HOPE THE HELP KEEPS COMING.I LIVE IN THE AREA AND I CAN TELL YOU ITS NO PICNIC.FIRST OF ALL TRY TO IMAGE THAT IF YOU HAD TO PUT ALL OF YOUR POSSESIONS AND YOUR FAMILY, INTO A 7'X 32'LIVING SPACE. I KNOW FIRST HAND THAT A LOT OF FOLKS THAT DID NOT WORK PRE-KATRINA,ARE NOW WORKING TRYING VERY HARD TO GET BACK ONTO THERE FEET. SOME FOLKS MAY BE ABLE TO DO THIS IN A COUPLE OF MONTHS,AND SOME MAY REQUIRE MORE TIME. ITS SAD THAT WE LIVE IN A NATION THAT DOES'NT BLINK A EYE TO FACT THAT ARE GOV. SPENDS BILLIONS IN FORGEIN AID,BUT WANTS TO PUT A DEADLINE ON HOW LONG TO HELP ARE FELLOW AMERICANS.

We are not sitting on our behinds. I live in Pascagoula, MS. I live in a small middle class neighborhood of three bedroom brick houses built circa 1959. Most of the people who live here are retired from the military, the papermill or the shipyard...none of which were easy jobs. These people have fought in the navy and the airforce and other military groups. They fought in WWII and Korea. They sent their sons to fight in Vietnam and Desert storm and now many of their grandsons and granddaughters are in Iraq. They have worked all their lives. Their insurance isn't paying to replace their homes...insurance is like that...and if they need our nation's help to rebuild, then we should proudly and with full hearts and open arms help them. These are the people who built this nation. With their sweat, their blood, and their lives they have given to us all, and they believe in this country with their souls. It is a shame to read comments like the ones written here that they don't deserve the help of this nation when they have given this nation so much. Shame on you all for your greediness and coldness. What ever happened to love and charity? Herein lies the reason this country is in the shape it is in today. Not for our giving but for our lack of compassion for our fellow man. I pity your neighbors and I am proud that I live here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast where love is still the message and the answer to our prayers. I could live anywhere in the world but I chose to live here and Katrina or no Katrina, I wouldn't live any where else...certainly not Columbus, Ohio!

This is truly a sad day that we live within. How can so many respondents be so cruel? People lost their CHILDREN, their SPOUSES and other loved ones who were washed away, or killed or sacrificed their own lives so that their loved ones could live. What about the psychological trauma that these people have suffered? EVERYONE is not sitting around with the "entitlement attitude". There are constant news reports showing people who are stil trying to rebuild their lives, clean their homes and do whatever they can to get back on track. For those of you who have such harsh words to say, you should put yourself in those people's shoes. Or even better ask yourself "What would Jesus do in this situation? What would he think of what you are thinking right now? Would he be pleased?"

These people need jobs to return to the area before they can start again. When their homes were destroyed, so were their places of employment. It's a catch-22.

To say, "...we never saw it coming..." is an affront to common sense. Those who chose to stay accept the responsibility to rebuild with what they have to work with - under the conditions existing. The expectation of a continuous hand-out is absurd and insulting to those who are making sincere efforts to re-build - as opposed to those who are waiting for some federal government placebo to come in and fix everything back for them. The posts may seem cruel but what they are is frank and direct. The Gulf Coast is not the only area of this country in need and the communities there need to take a serious look at tougher building codes; "no-build zones"; mandatory evacuations; and other infratstructural and social changes that will need to accompany the re-building. It is cruel and unsympathetic to hear about, "hurricane parties" and then hear pleas for help once a storm passes. The government - local, state, and federal, can no longer afford long-term, multi-billion dollar recovery projects from recurrent natural phenomenon. A wise man once said the best way for people to get on their feet is to get off their butts....

The pople In this area, sadly, already have taken on the attitude that they
are entitled to freebies. You should hear the screaming and complaining
they are doing because they now, once again, have to pay for
their cell phones. They believe they can not live without them, and
because they are displaced they should be free. Sorry folks you got
far more than anyone in Florida got, and they still also are still displaced.

My house burned two years ago, it took me more than 6 months to realize what had really happened, to even get the energy to start over! We had plans drawn up and started construction on our new house four months before Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. The wind and the water destroyed this structure. Although we were in a no flood zone, we paid for flood insurance for 15 years on the house that burned. We were told by insurance agent that Builder's Risk covered everything and then when we discoved that flood and earthquake have to be purchased on another policy - we were told by agent, "oh, I thought you had flood insurance". Why would we have a house that had burned to the ground insured for anything, why did the agent not know that builder's risk did not include flood? Don't be so quick to say that we are all lazy, stupid people living in this area. I also wish some of the ones posting these "smart" remarks could come up with a solution to get people that have lost their jobs, houses, and cars in Hancock County (Bay St. Louis, Waveland) some means of transportation over to Harrison County (Gulfport, Biloxi, Long Beach, Pass Christian)so they can apply for all these jobs that SEEM to be out there. I live here, I know what is going on, you don't! It takes more than three months to get you life back together when you have lost everything, I know, like I said I've been there before. If you are interested in seeing other opinions then these sites were given to me as a good places to pass along: katrina.passchristian.net, femaforgotwaveland.com, priceferrell.com, sylentwitness.blogspot.com, arloandjanis.com, and if you care about the plight of the helpless animals try hssm.org. Very touching photos are on operationeden.com.
The Rainbow People came here and did't judge why we live here, why we stay here, they made no judgemental comments. Sure wish all you others that have all the answers would come on down for a visit.

let's see! No HOme,No Phone,No bathroom,No clothes,
No shoes, No water, No nuttin in other words but you all just pick yourselves up down there and get out of the rest of our faces and stop bothering us with this
crap. After all it's been 90 days or so, if you lazy damn southerners were worth a crap you should be full as a tick wit no worries a tall. But you all just pick yourselve's up by them old bootstraps now, that is if you can find a pair at the local Salvation Army store. Where do we find these people that are complaining about handouts. God forbid that they should ever find themselves in a similar situation.
These are your fellow Americans you Idiots and these same people would help you in a heartbeat if you needed it. So spare them and me your selfish think of yourselves only mentality. I hope every one of you who wrote those posts will someday be reduced to no bootstraps and then lets hear your bs then!

Once again, I sense that many respondents think the Waveland/Bay St. Louis area is New Orleans, once removed. (HELP US! WHERE ARE THEY? [our rescuers?]) Once again, I wish to point out that this is not New Orleans. These people don't expect help, but appreciated it greatly when it came. Now that it's leaving, they will prevail without it.

these folks have needed help....and still do!!! but give a man a fish...he has a fish...teach him to fish and he will always eat...folks on the coast i hope you are all well

I have never heard so many cry baby people as waveland an bay st louis. If the people there can log on a computer all day, then they dont need help. An if everyone around the states feel so bad then send your money. Dont talk about those poor people send them money.

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