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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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Despite rain, volunteers from the New Waveland Cafe paraded along Highway 90 in a rousing goodbye to the community on the cafe's last day of operation. Drawn from as far away as California and Wisconsin, they gathered in Waveland shortly after Hurricane Katrina to serve free hot meals three times daily to all comers.

Known as "hippies" locally, the free-spirited group heads next for Chalmette, La., near New Orleans. Click "play" to see more of the parade and hear Waveland resident Russ Todd express his gratitude to the volunteers.

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Like what they are doing

... Un-"f-ing" believable what we continue to read about our fellow coastal denizens of the Southeast U.S.! I do believe that literally most of the homes in Florida have sustained, at least, rainwater intrusion and the mold, damage, and nastiness that involves.

From Texas to Pensacola, people well inland suffered damage greater than we in Florida, from corner to corner, almost can claim.

At worst, of course, their homes are gone right along with all the power lines, sewer lines, ROADS, and all the rest of it that make up their towns and memories.

No. We, here in Florida, truly cannot even imagine what is being experienced in the Gulf Coast and should not even pretent to.

I don't believe that this whole nation has yet to truly come to grips with what has happened to a huge percentage of our nation, as measured geographically and financially, not to mention from the most important "humanitarian" perspective.

We "charge it off to geography" when were were well enthused to go party in the "Big Easy". We charge it off to unacceptable racial divides although the survivors we saw on television were more probably described by their financial status than the color of their skin. (That relationship, of course, is a whole "nuther" web site at the very least!)

New Orleans cannot and will not go away. The most humble citizens grasp that and so it is time for the rest of America to revisit the situation WE have on one shore of our nation and all pull together to solve the short-term and longer-term objectives we all seek and require.

Rain is something that I need to feel alive. But today I wished for sunshine for the parade. Yet, I know that those that have come here to help us during these not so good days (OK, really horrible days)would understand how much we needed this rain to wash away the misery we feel. When they leave I hope they will always know how much they are loved. Please check out katrina.passchristian.net, femaforgotwaveland.com, operationeden.com, arloandjanis.com, sylentwitness.blogspot.com, for those concerned about out animal companions hssm.org, and for interesting photos operationeden.com. I will never forget you -----

Tomorrow I will check in to see if there is more to this story. There should be as these people deserve more than this short "good bye".

I have been to the Hippie tent. It was wonderful. They have provided good food and lifted the spirits of many. I thank them and am glad that I got to meet several of the volunteers. I hope the Chalmette residents enjoy the kindness and generosity.

That just shows that there are true Americans still out there!!

Peace and Love keep spreading it man! We need you guys here in the Congo, the drought is killing our people here


They are the smiling faces of the world. Fortunately there are still some people giving "hope" to the rest of the world. With love...

These folks were great. We owe them a lot.

Move away from divers places! If you trust Christ, you know weather is going to continue to get weirder.
The corruption that took place in the area of substandard levie work, housing inspections and awarding people jobs based on their party affiliation must stop. FEMA, is a grand example of inefeciant beurocracy. Maybe it is time to start a new kind of DRAFT. The new draft, should cover options of military, enviromental (eg.forest fire fighting or waterways clean-up, hazardouse spills reponce teams etc...), medical (assisting in nursing homes and hospitals), daycare, education, and expand the Corp of Engineers, anything to serve a humbeling two years to the US goverment.
For decades enviromentalist have said it is a matter of "when" disaster will hit the new New Orleans, and not a matter of "if" it would be hit.
If I were a gambeling man I would bet that a large disaster will be hit again in the next year or the one following.

Warms the heart!!!

Standing Ovation, 2 thumbs up, 3 snaps, and the classiest "Bravo" to the hippies!

Toured Waveland and Bay St. Louis on Thanksgiving day. UN-BELIEVABLE!!! The sight would make any caring person want to cry.
We think we have it bad in New Orleans??? It's nothing compared to what those folks are facing.

i always perfered the term freak...now maybe some folks will just see good people...dont matter how you dress or the lengh of your hair...good people are just that because....everyone can't look the same can they?...just say thank you and ya'll come back now...ye here

we need more hippies! I was raised by 'em and trying to raise my daughter with the same peace, love and caring spirit.
thanks for turnin' us on to the story!

I have never met more loving people than the brothers
and sisters I served beside in Waveland Mississippi.
I am a South Mississippi local, and a Rainbow. They
were surprised when I showed up. My town suffered,
but returned to "normal" rather quickly. So I took the
van down to Waveland, to live the Rainbow way.

These people are special, and I am glad to walk amoung
the people of south mississippi, and smile when they call
me hippie.

you know im so tired of these so called "victums". they knew this type of thing could happen living down in thouse areas, plus i dont care if some rich family looses there home or dies, its my gods way of saying " there screw you", and i agree.

It is a multifaceted and overly complex issue. The lesson is not of the natural disaster; but in the disaster of bureaucracies filled with pork and potatoes. Where is Lincoln when you need him?

I applaud the work of the "hippies" and sincerely hope that others will step in to help on the Mississipi Gulf Coast now. The need for help is nowhere near the end at this time. I live about 40 miles inland from the Gulf Coast and our little town took a hard hit also. As bad as it has been here, though, I realize that those directly at the coast took a much harder hit and still have a great need for volunteers and funds. Those of you from other areas who still have homes and are able to help, please step up and take care of these hard working, good people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and help them to help themselves.

I just read a great article in the LA Times about these "hippies" and a group of Evangelical Christians from Texas, who ended up working side by side to help the people in Waveland. How they both learned a lot about eachother and grew from the experience.

Good people are good people, whether they're from the liberal left or religious right. They both just wanted to help their fellow man. More understanding like this may hopefully one day lead to the country coming together.

I attended the CNU event in Boloxi permitting me to get past the National Guard checkpoint and see what Katrina had done to that part of Mississippi. As a Louisiana resident now living in Florida (flooded twice), I now refuse to feel badly about my condition after seeing such destruction in N.O. and along the Gulf. We must work to higher standards and never, never, forget the lessons we have so bitterly learned.

Hooray for these "freaks" or "hippies." Just goes to show that human beings should be judged by their heart and actions, not by their skin color, ethnicity, religion, or clothing. Mucho kudos to these good folks and all the other volunteers who put other peoples' needs ahead of their own. Let's not forget the good people that will still need our help when the media circus has lost interest and moved on to a new "disaster of the week". Stay connected and volunteer if you can in the future. There is plenty more work that needs doing.

To all the many volunteers who just felt in their heart the need to leave their own families and the comfort of their homes to come to Mississippi with the devastation, we bless you and thank you. You came to an area of great sadness and loss and many times it was hard to show how thankful we were for your presence. But just know that each day we saw you and your efforts touched our hearts and we will never forget you. Thank You

The hippies are an example of what the Good Lord expects from all of us. Give and you shall receive!
They gave their time, energy, and compassion. The Lord will reward them all tenfold in heaven.

God bless them all!

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