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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.

Background on the towns and this project is available under the about tab above.

Click here for bios of the reporters and media producers who have worked on the series.

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WAVELAND, Miss. –- Despite the brave comments of some Katrina survivors that material possessions can be replaced, some of them cannot.

Near the top of that list are photographs -- snapshots of family vacations, graduation portraits, wedding albums, the priceless images that bring back past times both sweet and sad.

A bin at the entrance to the Wal-Mart here shows that one group plans to do what it can to help restore some of those losses. Shoppers are invited to bring and drop off whatever photos they have found amid the rubble.


A few photos lie in the bottom of the bin at Wal-Mart. (John Brecher / MSNBC.com)

“Please mark back of photo with Zip Code where found,” a sign asks. Already, there are a few offerings at the bottom of the box.

Another sign notes that “The Picture Project” is a joint venture of Wal-Mart, Kodak, the Sun Herald newspaper and United Van Lines agent J.W. Bennet. The group promises more information soon at www.pictureproject.org.

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As someone who had ALL of our family photos for generations burned in the October fires in CA a few years back - I must encourage folks to make sure photos are shared, duplicated and stored on the WWW as much as possible

Our family too found a few pictures on our lot. I only wish I had known about this, I would have brought them over there. At the time, the only thing that we could think to do was to put them close to the street, hoping that whomever they belong to would see them as they were walking by and take them.

I volunteered in Biloxi, Mississippi from October 30- November 5th. I found a letter in a yard dated, At Sea, January 2, 1944. It starts out, "My Darling Sweetheart..." The man who wrote it is an officer, and on Christmas day 1943 he sailed past the Rock of Gibraltor. He also spent time in Sicily. He doesn't give many details because he is a censor, and he jokes about how he can't break rules that he has to enforce. The letter is nine pages long, and each page is numbered. The last pages are gone, so I don't have any names to go by.
I live in Kansas so I can't drop this in the box, but I would love to return this letter to its owner. If anyone has any information about it, please contact me.

Hi, I think it is a great idea, I will stop by today and check out that box! I lost all my photos along with everything else, but losing the photos was the worst hit for me. Bay St. Louis, Lakeshore area....
Thanks for this post, I didn't know that box was there until I read your post!

Very important! I am looking for Terri Dybbahl who lived on Race Track Road in D'Iberville Ms.I found a photo album down the road after Katrina I took the pictures out and saved as many as I could. I am Willis daughter Monica. I tried after the Hurricane to find ya'll but dad said you were transferred and didn't know where to.I think this will make a wonderful Christmas present. I hope I find ya'll before then.Monica Lancon

When we evacuated, we took most all our photos with us....thank God we did....we lost everything. This is a great idea.

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