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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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Steve and I attended the Mississippi Renewal Forum meeting in Waveland on Thursday night. I'm glad to say the crowd's response was much more positive than last time any of these ideas were discussed. We arrived early and got seats, but there were many people who had to stand outside the portable building.

I must say I've been depressed lately. I have no interest in things, and I had all but given up on our lot in Waveland. We go there very infrequently these days. The Corps hasn't gotten there to clean it yet and the debris is too incredible for us to deal with. There's nothing to do but stand there and think how sad and bleak it all is. It's especially bad at night.

We had almost decided to move, maybe to Bay St. Louis. For one thing, the ground is higher there, so any new elevations wouldn't be as daunting. For another thing, we suspected that the Bay would be more likely to take on the new planning ideas than Waveland. Finally, it seems easier to look at another (less familiar) devastated street every day than our own.

Hearing the urban planning ideas and seeing such a positive response gave me some new energy. Some of the plans seem possible and like they might actually be supported by the citizens. There were even engineers at the meeting who wanted to help with our new housing requirements.

The only tricky thing is that to make any of these ideas happen, we need to decide as a town--a cumbersome proposition, especially since we're scattered right now. But I really believe that if we get some key people organizing at the grass-roots level, and if we communicate regularly with the mayor's office, some of this good can happen.

I was reminded last night of why we loved our little street in the first place. I guess now I'm not so eager to abandon it before making a sincere personal effort at rebuilding.

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Oh Heather! I am so sorry about all this. We've not been doing well either. I'll try to call you soon, love and miss you,
DeNeice Guest

Hi Heather,
I've been reading the citizen's diaries for while now and was happy to read that the Renewal Forum Meeting you attended turned out to be so positive for you. I know it's tough, when things seem overwhelming, to keep your spirits up, but it does sound like you've found your motivation -a gross-roots organization. It sounds like a great idea!

I'll keep you in my thoughts & prayers!

Heather-- I ran accros this site while I was searching for something else. I was reminded that 2 short years ago the small town of Pierce City , Mo. was completely destroyed by a tornado, and they lost their library. After an article was published in the K.C. Star paper many people dent books for their ne library. My young patrons at the library bought and sent many books for grades K-6th grade and they were wondering if there would be a chance of helping your community.
Ann Smith ,Librarian Keyttesville Public Library

Heather, I reside in Canada above Maine. I came across this site on MSN on my lunch break. We have not forogtten you. I think about all the terrible things that have happened over the past few years and wonder what is next. I do not know that we all have hope that the next day will be better. I hope and pray for you and your friends and family that this will all turn out even better than you can imagine. I am now over 50 and have had the opportunity to start over for different reasons, divorce to loss of job and when I look back a year or two later I am happy with how things have turned out. I could never of planned them it just takes fate. Some doors open and some slam shut. Please don't give up hope. I will be praying for you and thinking of you. We have not forotten.

Hi Heather,
I think about all of you down there almost constantly as I grew up in Ocean Springs. We, St. Alban's Episcopal Church and the United Methodist Church in Simsbury, Ct. have just had a coat drive helping the children and faculty in two schools near you. A group will be appearing from the same organization in Jan. to help where they are told to work. As in previous remarks, time does heal, I have experienced that. I will continue to have you in my thoughts and prayers.

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