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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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As we pass the 100 day mark for Hurricane Katrina here in Hancock County, some days are good, some are bad. Sometimes I find myself very angry and bitter about what has happened here.

But, as I listened last night on C-Span to the Congressional hearing on the Hurricane Katrina Response, I was proud to be a Mississippian. Governor Haley Barbour and his team were praised for their pre- and post-Katrina planning and the job they are doing. The Governor pleaded for assistance for the citizens of the state, especially those who lost homes, but had no flood insurance because they were not in a flood zone. He said, "We need help and we need it now."

Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo also told the story of his town. He told how much of the town is literally gone, how much of the city services are put together with bubble gum and scotch tape. He also mentioned that FEMA did not respond to his requests for supplies like water and ice for more than three weeks. And he made the request the day of and after the storm.

He said some FEMA officials in Washington have decided to close down all the volunteer services, such as distribution and meals. His frustration is the same as mine. FEMA wants to close these down because they want businesses to get up and running so people can spend their money there for supplies, meals, etc. What no one seems to understand is that we still do not have a grocery store open, and many of the restaurants in Waveland are gone. I'm sure some of them will rebuild, but they are not open. Their buildings are destroyed. So, as he said, more than 7,000 meals are not being served. Where are these people supposed to get their food? Those living in tents depended upon the free services for their meals, etc. That is the sort of thing that makes me angry and bitter.

Every day here at the library we see more than 300 people a day, using the Internet, using the telephones, copying things for FEMA and insurance, faxing to FEMA and insurance. People are trying to get back. They are trying to move on. But it is hard and sometimes very frustrating, especially when dealing with insurance and FEMA.

The questions about FEMA help, insurance and the SBA loans are not being answered. One day it's one way. The next day it's changed and it is done differently. I have been waiting more than 6 weeks now to see a SBA inspector to tell me the cost of my loss and how much I am eligible to borrow to rebuild my house. The problem that concerns me is that I have also signed a ROE (Right of Entry) for the Corps to come in and tear my house down. I just get very confused and frustrated with the process.

So, as you can see, some days are good, some days are bad. This has been a week of bad days.

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8 COMMENTS

We took some warm clothing over to Pearlington yesterday. Is it possible that things can actually be worse now than they were three months ago? Maybe it was the rain, cold and mud but it seemed that any progress that has been made is invisible. Oh, the FEMA tent is gone-- maybe that is supposed to be progress. People are still living in tents along the Gulf Coast. We read that FEMA trailers are in assembly areas, but how much longer can people wait?

I am so glad that others are having problems with FEMA and other assistance. Seems like they all have disappeared right at the holiday season, leaving us without food assistance, financial assistance. The politician in the White House must need it for shopping. I am bitter, I freely admit that. But, I wont give up. I am coming back as soon as my health permits it. I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas! And hope we all have a great 2006.

I think it's horrible that people are still living in tents along the Gulf Coast! It shouldn't matter that people didn't have flood insurance - this is the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and our brothers and sisters shouldn't have to live in these conditions, period! Besides, it wasn't "flooding" that carried houses onto streets and casino barges into buildings, but a storm surge CAUSED BY HURRICANE FORCE WINDS. The government needs to step in and demand the insurance companies pay up; what better way to start the entire rebuilding process. When people lose homes and jobs, how in the world can anyone expect them to rebuild? It's insane and unfair.

since the commerce has not been able to rebuild yet it is imperative that "something" be set up to provide to the residents who are there in tents, etc. Perhaps FEMA could set up a low-cost restaurant since they have the equipment and ability to provide. This could serve the residents well. FEMA/tax money and the residents could share in the cost of progress this way.

Here in Maryland we still have some people living in FEMA trailers from Isabel - a much weaker storm than Katrina for sure - that hit two years ago.

While I can't appreciate the frustration everyone is having, I have to wonder if everyones expectations are realistic. We're talking an area roughly the size of the entire country of Great Britian that was completely destroyed.

My prayers and thoughts go out to all those affected by this terrible hurricane, may you have a speedier recovery than some of those here.

I had a month of bad days a few years ago....it was called September....but now I know ....it was nothing to what ya'll folks have and are still going thru

I LIVE IN THE CITY OF PETAL WHO ALSO SUBSTANED DAMAGE BUT NO WHERE NEAR WHAT YOU DID. AND I CAN REALLY UNDERSTAND THE BAD DAYS. THE HOILDAYS DON'T SEEM LIKE WHAT THEY SHOULD AND AS A PARENT YOU WORRY THAT YOU CHILD WILL NOT HAVE CHRISTMAS AND DISPITE WHAT ALOT OF PEOPLE THINK THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ARE NOT SITTING AROUND WAITING FOR A HAND OUT. BUT THIS HAS SHOOK ALL OF US TO THE CORE AND IT IS REALLY HARD TO FACE THE DESTRUCTION YOU SEE EVERYDAY. AND EVEN WITH ALL YOUR EFFORTS YOU CANT SEE WHEN THINGS WILL GET BACK TO NORMAL. SO AS MY DAD USE TO SAY IF YOU CANT SAY SOMETHING UPLIFTING GIVE POSITIVE IDEAS TO THESE PEOPLE I FOR ONE WOULD RATHER NOT EVEN SEE YOUR COMMENTS. THERE IS NO SENSE KICKING SOMEONE WHO IS ALREADY DOWN, KATRINA AND RITA DID A GOOD ENOUGH JOB OF THAT. INSTEAD OFFER A HAND OR A PRAYER OR SOMETHING , BUT PLEASE DONT PUT PEOPLE DOWN. I HAVE WORKED SINCE I WAS 14 AND I AM 52 AND I AM WORKING NOW, BUT I STILL AND HAVE A REALLY HARD TIME GETTING A HANDLE ON THIS . DEPRESSION IS ONLY A THOUGHT AWAY AND AS A SINGLE PARENT I JUST WANT TO HELP MY CHILDREN MAKE IT THROUGH THIS WITH AS LITTLE DAMAGE EMOTIONALLY AS POSSIBLE. AND THIS IS WHAT A MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE ARE DOING. SO KEEP YOUR CHIN UP EACH DAY TRY AND FIND SOMETHING TO UPLIFT YOU AND REMEMBER
GOD GOT US THROUGH THE STORM AND HE WILL BE THERE TO GET US THROUG THIS TOO. GOD BLESS YOU ALL AND YOU ARE ALL IN MY PRAYERS AS WE FACE EACH NEW DAY.

We have empty FEMA trailers in N. Louisiana. The evacuees do not want to move out of hotels and into them. They are complaining that the trailer parks are too far out and that there is not public transporation. I bet the folks in Mississippi would take the trailers.

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