Above:A 360-degree photo shows a rusted boat and other wreckage at Bayou Caddy, a port west of Waveland. (John Brecher / MSNBC.com)

About this project

In the coming months, MSNBC.com will focus its coverage of the Hurricane Katrina recovery on two cities on the hard-hit Mississippi coast.

Coastal Miss. vicinity

Though Bay St. Louis and Waveland are far from the media spotlight on New Orleans, the intertwined fates of the people, businesses and institutions in these towns tell the story of an entire region's struggle to recover from the most destructive storm in U.S. history.

Read about the towns

Bright spots in disaster zone

Posted: Wednesday, October 26 at 01:23 am CT by

WAVELAND, Miss.—By the time we drive into this hurricane-stricken area to take over reporting duties from Jim and Mike it’s after dark. It’s hard to get the lay of the land. The terrain is unfamiliar, and things are not where they are normally would be. We can make out refrigerators and piles of other refuse along the boulevards. There are the silhouettes of tent encampments, trailers, and work machinery -– alien things that take up parking lots and churchyards.

But the lights, few and far between in these connected towns, are blinking off one by one. Curfew is now 8 p.m. in some areas, which are by this time completely shrouded in darkness.

CONTINUED »

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New life in a FEMA trailer

Posted: Tuesday, October 25 at 02:06 am CT by

WAVELAND, Miss. – Space No. 154 is near the end of the dusty campground road out in Buccaneer State Park, but inside the 30-foot Keystone trailer that sits there a new beginning is under way for Shane and Ivy Jordan.

Surrounded by ice chests, kids’ bikes and lawn chairs, the travel trailer is now home for Katrina survivors Shane, 26, Ivy, 24, up to five kids at times and a finger-nipping Jack Russell terrier named Ellie.

Welcome to FEMA-ville by the beach, one of many such encampments that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has set up across the region ravaged by the Aug. 29 hurricane. In Hancock County, 3,456 trailers were occupied as of Monday, according to the county’s Emergency Operations Center.

CONTINUED »

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We're not lion

Posted: Monday, October 24 at 07:40 pm CT by

PEARLINGTON, Miss. – Of all the things you’d expect to find in a hurricane zone, can this be anywhere on your list? Don’t bother rubbing your eyes again, because there it is: the head of a full-grown lion resting in the crusty filth along Highway 90 in this little town west of Waveland.

The lion is not alone. A jet ski, a splintered skiff and some smaller flotsam also festoon a wide spot where the road is closed at the cantilevered swing bridge that spans the Pearl River on the Louisiana border.

We imagine it is the long-ago work of a taxidermist, a fallen trophy from the wall of a wealthy hunter who enjoyed the occasional safari. But we can’t be sure because there is an indescribable stench rising from the whole area and we have no intention of bending any closer to this specimen.

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Bridging the bay, healing the pain

Posted: Monday, October 24 at 09:41 am CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – From a concrete pier in the mouth of the bay, where the October sun beats down and the wind blows in from the gulf, few people are in as good a position as Billy Baughman to understand the raw power of Hurricane Katrina.

Where two miles of CSX railroad line once ran across massive concrete slabs, there remained nothing but air after the hurricane blew ashore Aug. 29.

CONTINUED »

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Five weeks in a tent and still they wait

Posted: Sunday, October 23 at 04:53 pm CT by

Jeanette Lynn Lusich sweeps the tarp that is the floor in her open-air living room. Her family is still living in tents in the aftermath of Katrina. Click 'Play' for an audio slide show.

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – Let’s get one thing straight right now. Jeanette Lynn Lusich is not a complainer. Nope, she’s about as cheerful as you could expect a body to be after losing most of her possessions and a home that had sheltered four generations of her family. But living in tents for five weeks is getting old.

“I can’t understand this,” says the 48-year-old homemaker and mother of two teen-age sons who has been waiting to get a trailer from the Federal Emergency Management Agency since shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck. “There’s so many stories, you don’t know who to believe anymore.”

CONTINUED »

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Eight weeks later, where are the trailers?

Posted: Sunday, October 23 at 01:46 am CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – Arlene Johnson knows a thing or two about helping folks. Deep passion for her hometown and unconditional love for its people pulse with the blood in her veins as the director and 23-year employee of the Hancock County Senior Center carries out her mission: See a need among her clients and fill it.

Pretty simple concept, actually, even if the execution requires the patience of Job to thread a labyrinth of government and private funding sources, stay atop myriad state and federal regulations and pay the light bill.

So Arlene Johnson wonders then why it’s so damn hard for the United States federal government to deliver a few trailers to the eight homeless folks who have been living in the senior center at 220 Bookter St. for the nearly eight weeks now since Hurricane Katrina pummeled the Gulf Coast.

CONTINUED »

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October 30, 2005 - November 5, 2005
October 23, 2005 - October 29, 2005
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