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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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I never thought I would be able to say that I live in a trailer.

Now, however, I probably use the word "trailer" 15 times a day. Typical statements regarding the trailer include:

We need to refill the LP tank for the trailer.

Wow, this trailer has a laundry chute. My house didn't have a laundry chute.

Can you believe how much the trailer shakes when the cat runs through?

What's with all these fruit flies in my trailer?

We definitely need a mud room in the trailer.

My trailer has surround sound -- my house didn't have surround sound.

Close the door so the gnats and mosquitoes don't get into the trailer!

The trailer is very cozy.

There's not much room in the trailer for a bunch of useless stuff.

The power's out in the trailer again.

The shower in the trailer has a skylight. My house didn't have a skylight in the shower.

Do you know how to work the heater in the trailer?

There's no room in the trailer's fridge for my crockpot.

We're not actually in a FEMA trailer, since they lost our application the first time and ignored us the second. Steve's parents were generous enough to buy a fifth-wheel for us to use. It is very nice. We're the envy of the trailer park. I feel very cozy in it.

There isn't a great deal of moving-around room, so we often have to jockey for position when trying to get ready for work or a gig. But the recliners are nice, the bed is comfortable, most everything is within arm's reach, and I feel tucked-in whenever I'm there. A minister friend of mine commented that the trailer has sort of a cocoon-like quality. I suppose that's why it's so comfortable, and also why I'm so attached to it now. I feel safe there. I don't really have any desire to think about what's really going on when I'm tucked into my trailer cocoon.

I found out that the fruit flies are a plague in many trailers around town, so I feel a bit better knowing it's not just me. I clean, I take out the garbage daily, but they persist. You get accustomed to the fruit flies, the tracking of mud, the occasional loss of power (most recently when I was in the shower getting ready for a gig and the electric water pump stopped pumping), and the small fridge. I'll almost be sad to leave. Of course that won't be any time soon, so I have plenty of time to get used to the idea.

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I live in a government issue trailer in "FEMAville" (my yard) Bay St Louis. I am grateful for my FEMA issue. Let's face it, it is more spacious, warmer and tolerable than the one person, two bed tent I had been occupying prior to it's arrival. Nevertheless I find many experiences worthy of mention even laughter:

To this: YOU KNOW YOU LIVE IN FEMAville WHEN: you call the FEMA maintenance "800 line" waiting some 15-20 minutes for a voice on the other line only to be asked by the female troubleshooter now assisting you if by chance you have a boyfriend or son who can light your water heater pilot!

Please share your FEMAville laughs with me: lookin4you777@yahoo.com

You know you are a Hurricane Katrina victim when the spanish moss in the live oak in what used to be your front yard is now replaced with your wardrobe.

Linda, your comments are the most refreshing i've heard since returning from Miss. coast. Your attitude is great and i'm glad your ok. I hope everything turns out well for you and I hope to go to Waveland/Bay St. Louis next time we go down there.

Very nice! Keep 'em coming.

Thank you so much for posting this! I don't know whether to laugh or cry because I can totally relate! I'm very jealous, though, since I'm still waiting for my trailer. My husband and I have a standard daily dialogue--"Did the trailer people call today?" "Did you see the new trailer down the street!?" "Wonder when we'll get our trailer."

God Bless you all. My heart is broken for you, but your humor is uplifting. God keep you safe....

Just for a change of pace you can refer to your fifth wheel as a "RIG". We have made the transition "by choice" to fulltiming in our "Rig". O.k. I confess it took me seven years. But I can relate to that cozy feeling. I love it now. In the campgrounds we go to they are called travel trailers, fifth wheels , motor homes, pop ups, or "RIGS'. Our former RIG is in Waveland parked on the slab where once stood the home of Judy English. We donated it to her when we heard of her plight. By the way that motor home was nick named the "Twinkie", so you can also name your fifth wheel with a nick name, but beware as you may get attached.All kidding aside, it's great that you can have a sense of humor. Our prayers are with you and we wish you all the best. Take care Theresa Loder

Feeling your pain with what I thought we fruit flies in my tailer. They are actually called Sewer Flies and the only thing that keeps them out is bleach down your drains and keep your drains capped when not in use. By the way you know you are in a FEMA trailer when your kids actually think fly swatting is the newest sport.

I met a couple in Long Beach that named theirs "The Beer Cooler". They turned the A/C way up and filled it with beer while they slept in a relative's spare bedroom. Couldn't help thinking of those people still living in tents, waiting for FEMA to call.

Thanks so much, Theresa. I like that term, "rig." Makes it sound tough. We'll try to think of a nickname... We had already talked about a nickname for the next house: TAKE TWO or (courtesy of our friends the Sallises) ONCE MORE, WITH FEELING.

OCEAN'S EDGE........What draws us to the OCEAN's EDGE......where the surf crashes on a sandy ledge......where we stand and stare out into the blue......while the sunset explodes in magnificent hues........where couples linger hand in hand......leaving footprints in the sand.....where seaspray bathes our mind and soul....what draws us here.....what is our goal.....beckoned in some strange way......some never leave....others return day after day.......what draws us to the OCEAN'S EDGE .......where the surf crashes on a sandy ledge: I was inspired to write this while camping on Siesta Key and was told by a therapist from Switzerland that the sound of the waves ,resets our body rythmn.It has a heeling effect. Theresa Loder

I do find the water very healing, very rejuvenating. That's why I'm not leaving just yet. Thanks, Theresa.

Great post Heather, and lots of great comments... I can't really wrap my head around what all of you folks have been through, but it sure is a good experience to witness the resiliency of the human spirit. Best of luck to you in the coming months!

How I understand the "trailer" and the "tetnt city". I lived thru hurricane Andrew,might I add it happen on my 15th birthday. Living in a huge 6 bedroom home to tent city and from tent city to Femaville. Let me just say this femaville was like heaven coming from tent city. I know what you are all going through and trust me itd going to take sometime but its going to get better. Payer changes things, I think this is a wake up call for us all. When Katrina hit Miami, we all thought she was going to Broward county but she decided she would out smart us, she did a u turn and came where I lived near the keys. I live in a area where there is nothing but bricks, lumber, and any other supply you can think of, because they are building 1500 new homes in a 3 mile raduis (dont ask) I havent figured out what they are doing...

When we got word that Katrina was coming, I had that feeling that this was going to be a bad one, the same feeling I had on my birthday in 1992. SO many lives lost and so much to rebuild. Imagine living in florida all your life going thru this every year. I know a lot of people state that the people of New Orleans are leeches and are not greatful, they just want something for nothig.

I think these comments are sad and not right. Do you know honay kids are still displaced from their families, I am a mother of four and I dont know what I will do if my kids was displaced from me an my husband. I think if we take a moment and close our eyes and just imagine, the situation and imagine we were going thru this and our families didnt make or we were not aware where they were the comments would change. I dont care what a person has done in life but its just that a LIFE. I pray for you every night, I am a Floridiana and I know how it can be. One of my co-workers asked "me why are you writing a check for the displaced families in such a large amount( $8500 my savings) and giving to red cross,hell I gave $5 and thats more than enough" my answer to her was , "we Andrew hit us didnt you want someone to come amd help us out, and besides I am bless to have a home, food and lights, so why not spread the wealth. I never thought about that money again until now.

I know it will get better for you and for all the people who think negative comments bring out positive things, you need to re think what you are say..Think positive, try to turn the situation around by helping...JUST HELP


I spent Thanksgiving with my Father and Step-mother in "femaville." It is definitley different than their home on Spanish Acres. Thankfully we love eachother enough to where the times we had to be in the trailer, we weren't ready to kill one another. We spent out meal time, that evening, and the next day around the fire outside enjoying God's creation despit the devastation. All that to say I know how y'all feel and even though Bay St.Louis isn't home to me...it is still a special place.

To get rid of fruit flies, set out a container of

1/2 qt water (2 c)
2 T sugar
2 T (white) vinegar
a couple drops of liquid dishsoap

Leave the mixture sitting out in the infested area, as long as needed.

My husband just spent a week in Mississippi helping out the firedepartment :-) He's a Kearny, NJ firefighter - hi 'yall! He was so impressed with everyone's spirit and he said he'll be back as soon as he can. I just want you to know we are thinking about you and we know you have a long road ahead of you - we won't forget you!!

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