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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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(Editor's note: This post is from an e-mail Maria Russell sent to her friends and family on Oct. 12.)

It's been more than 6 weeks after Hurricane Katrina and life is going on. Our weather has cooled down a lot and the days have been so pleasant. Makes doing all this "outside work" so much easier to deal with!

Are you and your community still wanting and wondering what you can do to help with the relief effort? Well, I thought the following list might be helpful. While I was working (actually, volunteering) at the Chamber yesterday, a woman who is a business owner in Waveland came in with a Needs List. Waveland and Bay St. Louis are one-in-the-same, in my opinion. One melds into the other; when they rebuild, they should combine the two and make it "Bay Waveland," Mississippi. But what do I know?


Special funds have been set up to help purchase equipment. Every vehicle and piece of equipment was lost in Katrina.

Every policeman is required to purchase his own gun and equipment which costs about $3,000.00. They have lost their homes and their income is not high so this is an extreme burden on them.

If you want to make cash donations, please call Kathy Pinn, 228-332-2270 (this is the lady who came to the Chamber yesterday; she also owns "That Cute Little Shoppe on Coleman Avenue," which was also totally destroyed by Hurricane Katrina) or Lisa Planchard, City Clerk, 228-234-1475.


If you want to partner with schools, the contact person is Donna Torres, 228-255-5945.


If you want to partner with St. Clare, the contact person is Principal Mark Cumella, 225-255-2586. Their needs include:

Large 4-drawer file cabinets
2-way radios (teachers will be in Quonset huts and this will be their communication with the office). There are 12 teachers.
Schools supplies (pens, paper, pencils, notebooks, rulers, crayons, etc.)
Dry Erase Markers/Boards/Stands
Markers: Red, black, blue
Maps of the World
Maps of Mississippi
TV-VCR combo with stands (teaching aids)
Electric pencil sharpeners
Surge protectors
Dictionaries and Thesaurus' (as many as we can get for students)
Recreations equipment

CITY EMPLOYEES (to get the City going again -- ALL equipment, vehicles, etc. were lost)

Copy machines
Office supplies
Folding chairs (beige metal)
File cabinets (4 drawer legal size)


Folding chairs
Cleaning supplies
Tents (large, people are living in them)
Pillows, linens, towels, etc.
Canned goods & non-perishables
Coffee pots
Mops, brooms,
Light blankets
Paper products (plates, cups, etc.)

Bigger items:
Pressure washers
Chain saws

From all the wonderful, caring e-mails Dave and I receive, I know that so many of our friends and family still want to do something, and I hope this gives you a little insight into what's really needed right now. As time goes on, the Needs List will change.

The recovery process will be very, very long, but as they say down here, "the South WILL rise again." And it will. We feel grateful for the opportunity to help in the effort, and if there's anything you and/or your community, church, etc. can do, then please consider this list.

MAIN PAGE NEXT POST One month after Katrina

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I placed a message on some of the other blogs advertising my need to help others. What I did was place a short "advertisement" out there for whomever wanted to read that I was offering anyone the chance to send me information regarding what was needed by anyone affected, no matter how lavish, unconventional or strange it seemed to sound. While I could not promise that I could help with every request, I did tell everyone that I do have contacts with both individuals that may want to help, and corporations. I posted an email address. Then I came along your section here...I see the list that was created and would like to know if this is complete and updated...maybe if you could send me an updated list and I would see what I could do to try and help. The email address you can send to is: [email protected]
What I can also ask that I understand many people do not have access to the web, and that this info can be passed around to whomever you feel may be in need of it. I will try and post around to other sites/places/blogs.


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