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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.

Background on the towns and this project is available under the about tab above.

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Jerry Pittman, second from left, probes the water of St. Louis Bay with a stick to determine its depth. He and brothers Ernest, Jerry and Chris Willhite and Les Pittman (not related), from Starkville, Miss., traveled 300 miles to Bay St. Louis six weeks ago to work construction jobs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. On their day off, they walked to the end of a pier on St. Louis Bay and deliberated about whether to jump into the water. Concerns included water temperature and depth.

Click "play" to see and hear them arrive at their decision.


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I was very suprised when I played this file that you did not "bleep" out them swearing. I am not offended by this, but those that keep close tabs on internet content would be very suprised if their children were checking out the news and heard these guys cusing.

gotta love rednecks cause im one

dont do it! there be crocs down there.

Well i guess he had better luck than I thought he would. I had five foot of water in my house!!!!

I agree with Kristin from Ca, I was surprised at the language that was NOT bleeped. I use all my filters on my puter and even my DVD player is parental control and it bleeps out ALL cussing.

Oh, we have to use appropriate language when responding but THEY didn't get censored? Okay.

The cursing was bad. I had my 11 year old son sitting beside me when we listened to it. Come on....we hear enough of "limited vocabulary" just going shopping, we don't need it here too!

So grateful for this simple, playful piece. We need to smile more and heal from this tragedy. Good to see people are able to do this. These southern boys have spirit!

looks like dem boys sperienced some shrinkage in the cold water

I'd be watching out for broken bottles and other debris in that mud. Boy howdie.


The cussing could have been a lot worse. If I was a resident of the area I would be grateful for their presence, happy to see them have a little down time and glad that they found something to laugh about in an area where no much seems to be humorous.

Cussing??? These are construction workers-not choirboys--Just some good ol' boys a long way from home trying to make the best of things-They deserve a big thank-you from all of us.This little piece was great and would not have been so if bleeped--We don't mind our kids seeing war,death and destruction on the news each day but worry about a four-letter word?? Life doesn't have a filter--

I second Fred Hunt's commments.

That's not true. We have filters everywhere. And we don't see uncensored war everyday - you may see explosions but not the body parts or the mutilated faces. And besides, even if there were erosion in one area of social standards does that excuse erosion in another - language?

Geez, I am always surprised by the expectations of others concerning social standards. We expect certain standards that most of us don't abide by (referencing the language). I see opportunities like this as chances to educate my children about appropriate behavior - giving a speech, use good language and hanging out with friends, use what is appropiate for the moment. One can only give children a good start and hope they follow suit. I think it was a group of friends having a good time...leave it at that.

Thanks David H for your comments and I agree heartily. There has been too much sadness for these people. It really is ok to laugh now and then

I like that--explosions without the body parts or mutilations--Kinda like fireworks--Glad the kids in Iraq,just like us kids in Nam,got filters. Sure makes it easier to tuck the little guys in at night--Hate and kill all you want--Just don't say s**t--

These good old boys are the backbone of the recovery efforts. Yes we should thank them! And celebrate their efforts to live a little and laugh a little thru it all.

Thank you boys for your work! It is greatly appreciated. I was happy to have a glimpse into your efforts. I am VERY happy that msnbc.com is putting your stories out there for everyone to experience - you are heros...

BLEEP? Reality check - the world is not even close to your conservative standards. If you can't handle the truth or reality, get rid of your internet service and move to Amish country (BTW: there's nothing wrong with that, just like there is nothing wrong with the honest portrayal of these hard working men's experience)

Dearest Kristan of La Habra, Ca & Miss Lori of Oklahoma - GET A LIFE!!! The boys in this peice obviously have one - maybe you (and your innocent children) can learn something from them! GOOD JOB BOYS! THANK YOU MSN! THANK CONSTITUION (FREE SPEECH)!!! It was refreshing.

It's typical that the person who whould complain would be from CA..

I agree with Fred Hunt--it was a great piece and there's no reason to "bleep" it. They were just being themselves and relaxing from REBUILDING an area that was destroyed by the hurricane.

I'm from the Bay and most of us won't go in the water. A number of people I know have gotten funguses and rashes from the water. All the old cess pools in the properties up the Jourdan River and it's contributing Bayous in Shoreline Park, overflow into the river and then into the Bay. A couple of yeras ago an EPA official said the water up there was worse than Third World countries. Also, it is not yet clear what Dupont has done to thed water. Recently a Gulf Coast oyterman won a large lawsuit because Dupont's chemical in the oysters caused his cancer.

Add all this to Katrina and Rita's runoff from the Bay and Waveland and I'd think ten times before I'd put a foot in that stuff.

I agree with Fred. These are good men putting a town back together. Ya'll go worry about something else. Besides, thier mamas are very likely good SOUTHERN Christian women who will remind them about their language as soon as they get thier hands on them.

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