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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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HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. -- If you feel the urge to buy Artillery Shells, Warhawk Missiles, B-29 Bombers or even an 8-Shot Hurricane at 3 a.m., you need look no further than “Crazy Carl’s” fireworks stand off Highway 90.

Despite the fact that both Bay St. Louis and Waveland have banned fireworks sales and use this year, fearing the possibility of a conflagration starting in the debris of Hurricane Katrina, "Crazy Carl's" has found a legal niche by getting a permit to set up shop on a slice of county land near the border between the two cities.

"Crazy Carl's” normally operates two or three stands in this area, but this year the company owned by Carl Hodges (aka "Crazy Carl") has set up only one red-and white-striped tent.

“It’s a little slow this year, but we’re doing all right,” says manager Mike Dean, who treks in daily from Pearl River, La.

The brightly lit tent opened Dec. 26 and will remain open 24 hours a day until late on New Year’s Eve.

Locals are stopping by to pick up single fireworks for as little as 15 cents and, for those planning more elaborate celebrations, monstrous boxes containing more than 15,000 individual fireworks for $175.

Chris Kerlee was pleased after spending $45 on an assortment of fireworks. “That’s economic shopping,” he said with a smile as he bundled the large box into his arms.

As Dean, his son, Tyler, and his fiancée, Heather, prepared to hand the reins to an employee who works the night shift, they said they feel they're filling a need despite the cities' fireworks bans.

“People really need the celebration this year, after the tragedy,” said Heather, who was among those who lost a home to Katrina. “People need something to help them forget … even if it’s just for one night.”

MAIN PAGE NEXT POST 4 months later: A brighter 2006?

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54 COMMENTS

Dear, Dear, That is a really smart thing, do FIREWORKS, MAYBE IT WILL BURN THE DEBRI, OR JUST CATCH THE WOODS ON FIRE!!! THAT SHOULD CHEER EVERBODY UP!!! NO COMMON SENSE!!!!! A PARTY WITHOUT FIREWORKS, HAVE FOOD, MUSIC, DANCING, SOUNDS LIKE MORE FUN & CHEERY.

Probably best if the kids were deprived of fireworks this year for New Years Eve. It's not like 4th of July. As high as some of those debris piles are, i'd hate to think of what could happen if even 1 of them caught. If you've just got to light off some fireworks, make sure you do it safely or at least at the beach... Good luck and be safe.

As we used to say in the military "fire at will". Have fun and be careful.

You've been told that it is unsafe to shot off the fireworks, yet some people will do it anyway. The heck with what problems it may cause. I suppose these very people buying the fireworks think it is also OK to shoot guns towards the sky!!

Hope if you contribute to starting a fire you will be able to live with yourself - you also better hope that the people that may get hurt by your selfish attitude don't catch up with you!
PS: if you insist on doing this then at least have the intelligence to shoot across the bay --------

I just want to know, if what is left of our home catches on fire and burns up, NOW can we collect on our homeowner's policy?

I was disfigured by "Sparklers", used a Cherry Bomb in a mailbox and was hit by the Srapnal. I am now;65 and glad no one in my family burned a home

Good God, many of you need to get a life!
What would it matter if the trash burns anyway?
Insert you environmental extremist comments here...
If you burn a pile of trash that was once your home is that arson?
Let them have some inexpensive fun!
Oh, by the way “B”, please STOP YELLING at us.

Lighten up on these people, shooting off fireworks in time of celebration is part of the returning to "normalcy" that the rest of the country expects of them.

Also not every sparkler starts a wildland blaze, and not every person who buys fireworks has the self control of a caffinated 6 year old! I'm sure most of the people buying fireworks are smart enough to go to the beach and enjoy some time with their family away from the destruction.

Have a good New Years, despite the grinch's, to everybody down there and light a roman candle for me!

Will any disaster out of a different state cause insurance premium to go up?

Stupidest pasttime in the world...Hey let's blow things up! Let's make a lot of annoying noise! Let's terrorize the neighborhood! How American! How patriotic! How idiotic!

Fireworks are not the smartest or safest thing to do at this point in time. So many people have lost so much. Is it really worth the chance of losing what little is left to fireworks. There is a time and a place for everything. There are other ways to celebrate the new year. Just be glad that your family is alive and don't risk losing them as well, but if you must please take caution. The debris will catch easily. Just ask those out west dealing with wild fires and losing their homes and loved ones to fire. Be safe and may your next year be better than your last!

i have no problem with fireworks.....but maybe it would be best ...if they were shot over the water...this year

In the New Orleans area and neighboring parishes such Jefferson, St Tammany, etc., the local parish governments allow the sale of fireworks but not the use of them. They are such hypocrits in that they eagerly collect the sales tax revenue but don't want you to use them.

It is interesting that these same parishes allow the sale AND legal use of firearms in the same parishes but not fireworks.

If they are really concerned about safety during New Year's Eve, they should concentrate on drunk drivers and gun related violence during these holidays and not families trying to enjoy the holidays.

Light up and have some fun! And to you safety Ninny's out their, Lighten up and get a life! The vast majority of people who light fireworks off use common sense, I trust them.

Maybe water the lawn before lighting any fireworks off and picking a real open area so nothing ends up in trees.

i love the mentality, kind of reminds me when people were told to about the mandatory evacuations..
its unsafe!....Nahhhhhhhh wont happen to me! yuk yuk.
maybe they can set the rest on fire and lose "everything" again.
what a comedy skit waiting to happen.

As I read this, I could,t help but think about the poor folks that have lost and are still losing their homes due to wildfires ravaging North Texas and Southern Oklahoma right now. Many fires started due to careless use of fireworks and cigarettes in very dry areas--Food for thought! (Adult Supervision )

This is American Capitalism at its finest. If there's money to be made, someone's going to do it regardless of the consequences. Love it or hate it, it's what built this country.

To Kammy in Bay St. Louis-only from the water line up!

Kammy,
Your comment is right on! Maybe even the start of a great idea. If the Insurance companies are denying claims for damage cause your had Hurricane coverage and not flood coverage, have the neighborhood kids shoot fireworks and burn it down, everybodys got fire insurance. I live in Mobile and respect and applaud your sense of humor through this all. You and all the residents of MS, AL, and LA who have endured this horrific storm have the respect and prayers of your neighbors to the east.

stop crying about every little thing Mississippi. If there is a burn ban then abide by it. Why does everything have to be those poor poeple, they are grown up i guess. Its been almost 4 months since the storm move on with your lives an quit whinning. We taxpayers cant take care of yall forever.

And we wondered why there were shots being fired at aid workers right after the disaster.!! Same mentality!!

Are these people serious? They are actually more concerned about the debris catching fire than celebrating the New Year!?! Fires are possible but give me a break! There's more chance for lighting to start a fire! Mississippians, go ahead and celebrate the passing of a devestating year (2005) and ring in the promise of rebuilding in 2006! And if a few debris piles catch fire... oh well! THEY'RE GONNA BURN IT ANYWAY!

Why not just wait until some other late night party to set off the fireworks?? When there's no burn ban??I am in La, and just as dissappointed as everyone else about not having them this year, but can't we just say "oh, well" and move on?

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