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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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BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- Jeanette Lynn Lusich watches the trucks carrying the FEMA trailers zoom past her property -- and her tents -- on Lower Bay Road.

It’s now nine-and-a-half weeks since she and her family lost their home and possessions in Hurricane Katrina.

When we visited in late October, she was pretty cheerful about life for her husband and teenage sons, given the circumstances.

As a truck carrying a white FEMA trailer rumbles by Friday, she remains fairly upbeat, even though her patience is beginning to crack.

“You can’t let it get to you too much,” Lynn explains, as she combs her hair and gets ready for the day’s chores.

There’s a visit to the bank, then a drive to Slidell to top up her cellphone card – so she can again call FEMA about the trailer – and then back to the tents to gather laundry and wander over to a neighbor’s to wash the clothes.

“Everybody gets in these kinds of moods,” she says, almost apologetically, as if feeling despondent about her situation should be unusual. “When I get nervous, my hair starts falling out,” she says, plucking stray strands off her hairbrush.

When we stopped by, we thought the Lusiches had gotten lucky, as there was a FEMA trailer parked outside her destroyed home. But, as she soon explained, it’s for her in-laws, including her mother-in-law who suffers from Alzheimer’s. They lost their home in New Orleans and are moving to Bay St. Louis so that Lynn can help care for her.

The family’s trailer is nowhere in sight. So, for the umpteenth time, she calls FEMA again on our cellphone. She riffles through her torn notebook, FEMA ID and her husband’s social security number at the ready.

But after going through the automated system, she presses 2, holds the line for a few seconds before a robotic voice says that nobody is available right now, please call back later.

We also spoke with FEMA, through its public relations office. While unable to comment on Lynn's specific case, a spokeswoman says the agency is providing housing to 450 to 500 new people every day throughout the Katrina-devastated zone. She notes that Mississippi state hopes to have everybody who needs housing in trailers by the end of the year.

Lynn says she will keep calling, and she’s going to let us know what FEMA says.

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78 COMMENTS

I am and have been a stanch believer in our government, both Democrat and Repulician. For I felt that ethier one of them was a hell of a lot better then anything else out there in this world. Reading these stories, living these srories, have shown the cracks in our government, when it cares more about it prestige amongst other nations in trade, help or war, then it does for its on cititzens. Things need to change now, or the faith of the people as a whole in this nation, will go out with the tide and who is to say what will come back in with the next.
I live in south Louisiana. I was lucky, Katrina on my left and Rita on my right. But my family, freinds, and neighbors have suffered worse then any forgein country. And we are being treated by our own government like a third world country instead of one of this nations children states.
Thank you for all the help sent to us by our fellow citizens.
But our government reminds me of those big Enron CEO's who could not believe it was all collapsing around them. They never did look in the mirror.

Hurricane Katrina was a national diaster. There needs to be pressure put on local and state officlas to at least follow up on the survivors of the storm. It seems that once the media and politicians pulled out the American pubkic it left to deal with this all by themselves.

It is a terrible situation, but we have to remember the massive distruction and thousands who need help. Unfortunately in the real world, we do not have a super hero who can magically lift and transport materials, trailers and homes with the speed of light.
I feel for those people and commend the ones who have tried to have patience throughout their ordeal. To those who expect nothing but a free handout without so much as a thank you...I hope they go to the end of the help line.

I have read with considerable empathy the comments of those most intimately affected by the storms, wars, etc.--my hope, that the people of the USA and the people of the world come to appreciate the losses sustained. None of us will ever replace with money such loses. But our only real meaningful support is our love and economic contributions.

Kenneth L. Rogers

I AGREE WITH LEROYS STATEMENT EXCEPT FOR ONE THING. A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY WOULD GET A QUICKER RESULT THEN WE DID. I WAS NOT IN KATRINA BUT THE IMAGES TOUCHED MY HEART. THIS GOVERNMENT OF OURS HAS SPREAD ITSELF TOO THIN AND OUR CITIZENS SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES OF IT. REVAMPING THE ENTIRE THOUGHT PROCESS OF OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS WOULD BE A BEGINNING. THINKING MORE OF THE PEOPLE INSTEAD OF LOBBIERS AND POLITICAL SUPPORTERS. I MEAN RELLY DO WE HAVE A SAY OR ARE WE JUST LULLED INTO THINKING WHAT WE WANT IS WHAT OUR COUNTRY IS STRIVING FOR. THANK GOD FOR FREEDOM YES , I LOVE IT. BUT HOW MUCH CAN WE TOLERATE. AMERICANS SUPPORT THIS COUNTRY NOT THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES. HALF OF THEM WOULDN'T HELP US IF THEY HAD TO,WE ARE GARBAGE TO THEM.HELP YES BUT NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF YOUR OWN.

I hung a flag in my window today,
My son had marched away.
I stood a moment and gazed at it,
Then I silently knelt to pray.
"Dear Father in Heaven," I murmured,
"Watch o'er him both night and day,
Bless him and keep him Dear Father,
And if with his life he must pay
Let him give it with honor and courage
That we left behind him may say;
He fought for peace and he's found it
In that Land that the angels array.
"But, Dear Father," I then continued,
"If it should be Thy will,
Bring him back to his loved ones safely
That his place in this world he may fill.
These are my humble petitions,
For my son who is just my boy still.
As for me, Dear Father, give me courage,
And strength to accept Thy will."

My heart goes out to those who have suffered so much in Lousiana and other states but it seems unfair that we Americans run so quickly to accuse our government of disassociating itself rather than defend it. I personally feel we expect our president and his people to be superhumans when disasters take place. Where is forgiveness and team spirit in our country? We have the greatest country on earth. Are we so use to creature comforts that we can no longer gleen life lessons from being removed from our comfort zone? In a land of instant gratification is patience being obliterated? What are we teaching our children?

I hung a flag in my window today,
My son had marched away.
I stood a moment and gazed at it,
Then I silently knelt to pray.
"Dear Father in Heaven," I murmured,
"Watch o'er him both night and day,
Bless him and keep him Dear Father,
And if with his life he must pay
Let him give it with honor and courage
That we left behind him may say;
He fought for peace and he's found it
In that Land that the angels array.
"But, Dear Father," I then continued,
"If it should be Thy will,
Bring him back to his loved ones safely
That his place in this world he may fill.
These are my humble petitions,
For my son who is just my boy still.
As for me, Dear Father, give me courage,
And strength to accept Thy will."

I wish you all the luck in the world.

We are praying for each and everyone who has been affected by this national disaster.We will continue to help in anyway possible.through every storm god is there for you.Look to him and he will prevail.

It's hard to believe that a country such as ours does not have the ample ability to helps it's own. It's hard enough to survive a natural disaster of this magnitude, to only have to endure more tragedy as Lynn has, by no choice of her own. Our country is over in Iraq, trying to help those people to have a better life, when our country can't even help it's own. If this is any indication of our ability to operate as a country, God help us all if there ever comes a time that this Avian Flu ever does strike here.

My brother-in-law did receive his trailer there in Bay St. Louis, but it did take two months...It's tiny, but, of course better than a tent, so they aren't complaining...It has to be very difficult for those in tents, with the cold weather coming and the rain off and on...And I just received an email saying that the next town over Waveland is in need of Doctors and Nurses, as well as volunteers...So if anyone wants to help out this small town you can contact Turtle via:[email protected] or call this number 208 602 0909.I'm sure they can use all the help they can get right now!
Best wishes,
JoAnn Bush
Los Angeles, CA
www.generation2b.com
www.clippingcoupons4acause.com


I know what you're talking about Ms. Lusich - if you were not from the New Orleans area, it seems as if you are all but forgotten. I live west of the Mississippi river, just a mere 50 or so miles from New Orleans and sustained storm damage and I am yet to see assistance from Red Cross or FEMA. The damage we personally sustained is a mere drop in a bucket compared with yours. If one of these agencies finally make it to my area, I promise I will remind them of your area and of your situation and extreme patience. Hang in there!!

I too agree with Mr. Dupuy. I feel that our federal government is preoccupied with so many foreign affairs that it is not being as helpful as it should for our own citizens. I have reminded my high school government classes over the years that they should remember that the American Revolution had been fought because there was a lack of understanding by the mother country for the concerns of her children. I hope lessons can be learned---I would hate to see history repeat itself.

I am disgusted with the very idea of politics and men and women we put into office who have deserted our good citizens of New Orleans and throughout the United States. Shame on these so called politicians for turning a blind eye to the disgraceful way this government has treat our fellow Americans. Shame on you President Bush for allowing the Katrina disaster to continue to ripen and manifest in the people of New Orleans. You have abandoned the poor, the military, the needy, the elderly, the young, the children, the very essence of this great country to boost your wealthy comrades. How dare you call yourself a leader of the great people of this wonderful country. We the people are disgruntled with the lies you have continued to speak about the war and Katrina. You do not have our best interest at heart but of those within your small circle of well off friends and family. I for one am ashamed of you. Quite frankly, to hell with you!

This country was great when everyone carried his own cross and plowed his own furrows. Who gave the federal government the idea they had to be involved in evey catastrophy? Let us die if we can't make it on our own or with the help of those we know. Remember the dust bowl. Remember the hundreds of thousands who fled from war areas to distant places, usually walking. Nearly everyone in this part of the country came from Georgia,walking or in wagons, to escape the terrible times in Georgia during the Civil War. Some made it and some died. That's life.

Although I am not very pleased with our government as a whole, we must appreciate what little we can. When other countries have severe devastation, the United States is always one of the first countries to lend a helping hand to whomever needs it. Where was anyone else in the world when our country was getting devastated by nature? Our country alone was trying its best to help!! My heart goes out to all of those who have been hurt by the hurricanes! Just remember it was nature who caused this - not the government!

just maybe it's time for a new kind of tea party

I don't believe the rest of the country or the government fully understand the amount of devastation that occured on the coast of these two states. While I know and have friends that are affected from both areas. Who do you help first? The family that lost every single possesion, no home no personal items, not even a baby's toy? Or the one that escaped, moved in with relatives, and got 9 feet of water in the house, no other items remaining that are even salvageable.
Both families can't go home, both families have needs, they have no work, no home, years before they can even start to rebiuld.

I believe the government should have had local companies in charge of housing, not someone from another state, especially from another coast. The debris removal should have been handled locally. The government should have provided equipement and hired local people to do the work. It would have helped in both aspects of life.
Again as someone who is indirectly affected, there are several ways of accomplishing the desired effects in a much more positive way.

Our government has failed!!! The truth though, is that it has been failing for a long time. It takes something like katrina to really show how it is crumbling. The faith of this country is a direct reflection of government. With that said where does the faith come from when the government fails. Step up politicians!!!!! It's time to act not talk.

There has been poverty and homelessness in this nation long before Katrina and Rita hit. It is a shame that it took this kind of destruction to bring it to the forefront of our personal lives. Whatsmore, it's a shame that it will take much more than this to bring it to the forefront of the government's agenda. The government is obviously out of touch with reality in regards to the livlihood of our citizens. People are suffering while the President wines and dines the adultering Prince Charles. What a disgrace this country must seem to other nations. Shame on the government!

It's very sad to read all about the people affected by this terrible ordeal. I too beleived in our country, but to see people here in the United States that way, is unbeleivable. And to think that we are one of the "richest Countries" in the world really makes me think twice about what I once beleived. It's sad to think that when things happen outside of the United States, we are the first ones to help handing out millions and millions of dollars, and yet we can seem to help our own people, Our government is definetly doing something wrong!! Don't you think????

Once again we see that all we have can be gone in the blink of the eye. Again, we are reminded what is the most important things in life. Family, family, family and then friends, friends and more friends.
Our government does not want to do anything unless the cameras are there to see and hear what they are doing. Everything is a camera opportunity for campaigns later on. We, as a people, must bind together, help one another and bear the burden with each other. May God continue to speak to us through nature, people places and things to come.

I have to agree with a couple of earlier comments. The sensationalism of Hurricane Katrina is over, media crews are gone, and it's on to the next big story. There are still people suffering immensely! Also, the focus was all on New Orleans! It's a good thing Robin Roberts from Good Morning America was from Pass Christian Mississippi, otherwise not much aid would have reached that area.

After I read the posted emails from Mr. Brown the director of Fema; it all made sense how one person is so full of themselves they are totally useless. How he could of politically be placed in that position speaks volumes of the political structure. Its who you know; the majority of the time.
His attitude towards people and their plights killed and destroyed many lives. He was not different than Hitler; just meeker and milder but just as dangerous when the opportunity presented.

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