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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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Little red berries to decorate FEMA trailers could be the big seller this Christmas season at Just Duit Again, a gift store in Bay St. Louis that rose from Katrina’s rubble this week.

Owner Elise Haas doesn’t have high expectations for sales but she was determined to reopen. “It’s good for the town, it can have a domino effect and motivate people” to rebuild, she said as she prepared for a dedication ceremony at the new site on Highway 90.

The store was originally called Just Duit, but Haas tagged on “Again” to underline the fact that she is back.

Her new store is more than a mile inland from the original site on Beach Boulevard and Main Street. All that’s left there is a pile of painted concrete blocks, broken glass and steel.

Haas recalls returning there after Katrina to find “mud, sand and the road in my store,” the latter in the form of large chunks tossed in by the storm. The only thing she recovered was a Just Duit T-shirt found by a friend in a tree a few blocks away.

Haas hopes that her determination will sway others. “Some people aren’t sure they want to come back,” she says.

She’s also providing some normalcy for folks: a place to buy something besides home building materials, like note cards and decorations.

Haas says she could be at her new location for a few years. But she’s determined to return to Beach Boulevard, saying defiantly: “I told my landlord that I’d be back.”

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What a great story. Best of luck, Elise, and I know you will make your own luck. Anyway to buy one of your T-shirts? I just love your shop's name or rename.

I have a little celtic store here and it is the only gig I have, I can't imagine having to get it going again after a disaster. it probably wouldn't happen without alot of help from customers and friends. I wish you the best and admire your courage and joi de vive. good luck

I worked with Elise years ago. She had tough times back then, but nothing like many have faced with Katrina. If anyone can make it, she can. She always has a possitive attitude, no matter what. She is truely an inspriation to all. You Go Girl!

That's the Spirit,your lead will motivate.Plus helping others in getting started will do wonders.Keep on "keeping on". We in Maryland will be praying with Gods'help you "Overcome".

Elise, my daughter and I are going to BSL on the 14th, to volunteer to help Father Tracey at OLG.I have copied your address and will be sure to stop in and buy some BSL "souveniers" to take back to Florida when we leave. Good luck to you.

Elise, if that is Mike Haas in the picture then I assume he is your lesser half. Mike Haas did the closing on our condo at The Village at Henderson Point two years before Katrina. I am Chairman of the Board at The Village and we are going to try to rebuild. If that is not Mike, congratulations and best of luck with "Again". When we are back on the coast every weekend we wil be customers.

Elise, I was so excited to see this article. I'm so glad that you are back in business. Good luck! and...Go Bananas!

we need more like Elise!!!!!!

I moved from Henderson Point to Florida in June of 2004. I remember shopping at this store as well as the numerous stores around it. I'm glad Elise is back on her feet and hope others will follow. My heart goes out to the entire Mississippi coastal region. As a side note, could someone tell me the status of St. Rose de Lima Catholic Church?

I am writing from the Caribbean. Elise I applaud you, you are my kind of girl. Be blessed in your business.

Thanks, Elise. I'll be back on Dec 24th to help with restoration of several family members' homes. We are now a 5th generation family of Bay St. Louis with origins that continue in New Orleans. All 9 siblings are working towards rebuilding in the Bay, Waveland, Slidell and New Orleans. Many neices and nephews and their children are doing the same. I look forward to taking a little respite from hanging drywall, painting or raking debris from the yard and visiting your shop. Anaother respondent mentioned T-shirts. If you produce one, I will purchase at least 3 and will proudly wear mine when I return to VA. In any case, I look forward to shopping there.

Elise: You look so positive and ready to go doit in your little video. So good to see that smile again. Happy for your inspiring attitude. Will see you soon.
Judy Nicely,-John McDonald Realty. Your old landlord.

Elise, congratulations on re-opening - you are an inspiration!!! I want one of those t-shirts too.
Go bananas!

Congratulations! Millie, Amber & I are so happy for you and what you are doing. We will see you soon in the Bay!
Love Ya,
Katrina, Millie & Amber

Yeah Ms. Elise is back. thanks for the ad in the school newspaper. just for those who want to know, their website is justduitagain.com

I just returned from relief work in Bay St. Louis and Waveland, and was able to visit your store! What a blessing and a great store! Do you sell over the internet? The new name is great, and full of hope! God bless you!

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