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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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BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- The top beauty enforcement officer in this once idyllic beach town is driving around in a foul mood. You see, someone’s stealing pink flamingos -- in fact, he’s lost two from outside his FEMA trailer and wants them back.

People’s flamingos are coming up missing and they’re not showing up on anyone’s yard,” says Jimmy Loiacano, who really is in charge of beautification for Bay St. Louis.

His third and last flamingo is now on the grill of his pickup truck -- shielded with the protective forces of a zip tie, a Christmas wreath and mini-dolls.

“Somebody tried to poke his eye out,” he says as he takes a permanent marker to the bird’s face in a delicate surgery. “He’s got to see where he’s going.”

051206_flamingo_bcolThe last of Sylvia von Behren's three flamingos stares out toward the street in front of her home. (Jim Seida / MSNBC.com)

With little to beautify -- in fact, the town Christmas tree barely clears seven feet -- Loiacano has tried to keep up spirits with a best decorated FEMA trailer contest (stay tuned for MSNBC.com coverage of the winners) and sappy sagas like the flamingo heist.

Sure there are many, many pressing needs around here. But Loiacano defends his quirky antics as mental therapy. “Everyone is in a state of depressed mode,” he says

And so the flamingo mystery deepens.

Loiacano takes us to the home of Sylvia von Behren, who also lost two birds. “They took the breeders,” she says. “They left me with this one poor male. I’m going to put a leash on him and stake him deeper into the ground so no one will get him

Von Behren says she’s offering a $50 reward, but when she learns that Loiacano will pay $1,000 for his, she raises the stakes. “Oh well, $1,001 then,” she volunteers

Both warn anyone going after the rewards not to try to pull a fast one by bringing in ringers. “I can call them by name (fwiw: Gabriella and Gabriel) and know they’ll come to me if I see them,” Loiacano says

“I want them home for Christmas,” he adds. “I’ve got presents for them under the tree.”


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52 COMMENTS

So glad to see a sense of humor and a willingness to spread the mirth!

This man is really werid, if he steals a flmingo form somebodys house.

What kind of bird brain would steal these prople's flamingo's? HOW RUDE

I think it sad to hear that folks who have already ben devastated are bing victimized again. Someone who would seat pink flamigos should be shot at dawn.

I was feeling lower than low today, needed to see something like this. When I first moved here I said this area is special and the story only reinforces my idea. This is just what it takes to give us a bit of the spirit we need to stay on our feet - a smile never hurt anyone.

I'm not criticizing, but I don't think a person who puts a pink flamingo on the front of his truck should be charged with beautification of a city.

Jimmy is our friend and neighbor and this article is so like him. What a pleasure to read something that made me chuckle. Bless you Jimmy for putting smiles on faces in these hard times. We will be on the lookout for Gabriella and Gabriel.

Comic relief is needed here. I'm glad to see people trying to lift spirits. To those who kidnapped the birds, "GIVE EM BACK!"

Great story! I always try to appreciate and enjoy the little things in life, because most of life is just plain tough! With the difficulties people have been facing, and continue to in the area - I say way to have an attitude Loiacano, keep making people smile and laugh!

Kudos to these people in keeping a good sense of humor amongst the chaos.

Good luck finding the flamingos!

Is this for real? Isn't this a little on the extreme side?

I would be happy to send a few flamingos their way. Seriously! Please let me know where I can send them.

It is heartwarming to see that humor wasn't destroyed with many other things. A person who can smile has hope. Keep it up. I might add that I thought yardbirds came in black and white.

Way to go Jimmy! Give the people something to laugh about, remember, "A merry heart does good like a medicine." My best to your family.

Those poor, poor birds. After all they have been through!

What a heinous crime! As a fellow lover of pink lawn flamingos, I can only image the sense of loss these poor people feel!

man...thats low to steal a flamingo....what kind of fool does that...who else would want .....oh shoot i cant go on ...LOL!!!!!!

the girl needs to REST!

Whoever took those birds deserves to serve time!

a pair of pink flamingoes was stolen from my front yard five years ago and i still haven't gotten over it i feel for those poor people

Anyone who steals a flamingo is a low down dirty dog... The festive flamingo, including the Santa Flamingos are the true spirit of the season! Only a Grinch would steal one!

I love this story! I hope they find their flamingos! Sometimes, when your life is turned upside down and inside out, you need things others might see as silly. A story about pink flamingos might be enough to make someone's day!

looks like some "pink"-colored humor is just in time for the holiday season.

I have your flamingo's. They're mine I tell you mine!!!! MINE!!!!!
thanks Jimmy, I think we all needed a good laugh!.

I'LL BE GLAD TO SEND MY MOM'S FLAMINGO'S TO REPLACE THE "LOST" ONES. SHE ALWAYS SAID THEY WERE THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS SHE OWNED. JUST GIVE ME TIME TO FIND THEM!!!! THANKS FOR THE LAUGH.

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