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

Cities' Web sites looking moldy

Posted: Saturday, November 5 at 07:55 pm CT by

WAVELAND, Miss. -- Although it’s clearly not a priority, the city of Waveland’s Web site needs an overhaul – especially for anyone looking for information on post-Katrina building codes.

At a recent meeting, residents asked for information on the Internet. But it seems Waveland never bothered to put it there even before the hurricane.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (8 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

At last, feeling 'so good' in a trailer

Posted: Saturday, November 5 at 02:05 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- “I feel good, I feel real good,” says a delighted Jeanette Lynn Lusich.

Sixty-eight days after Katrina stuck, and a day after we reported for a second time on her family's long wait in tents, a 32-foot FEMA trailer was set down on her property on Lower Bay Road.

When we arrived Saturday morning, two contractors were checking the utilities, giving her a tour of her spanking new home, still fresh with the factory odor.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (71 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

The Wal-Mart super tent

Posted: Saturday, November 5 at 11:05 am CT by

WAVELAND, Miss. -- When I heard that the local Wal-Mart Supercenter was operating out of a tent, I knew it was going to be quite a sight. After all, this is Wal-Mart we're talking about, the biggest retailer in the world, a company as hated for its size as it is loved for its mantra of low prices, humbled to working under a canvas roof.

As you might expect, when Wal-Mart builds a tent, it builds it big. This is no pup-tent, or even a contraption meant for a circus. This is a 16,000 square-foot industrial strength A-frame, complete with electricity and six 30-ton air conditioners.

Ray Cox, who has managed the Supercenter since 1996, says that it's all worth it to be able to provide the bare essentials, like food and water, and even a few much appreciated luxuries. He took us and our video camera on a guided tour of the "super-tent," chatting up his neighbors in the store as if everything was just business as usual.

DiscussDiscuss (106 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

Removing the stuff of life

Posted: Friday, November 4 at 06:12 pm CT by

WAVELAND, Miss. -- It’s garbage; lots of it, about 7.4 million cubic yards, about the size of 74 football fields, each piled 50 foot high, or maybe a medium-sized densely packed town elsewhere in the United States.

In Hancock County, it’s the estimate of the amount of debris that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects to haul out of here over the next year.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (25 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

Watching the trailers roll by

Posted: Friday, November 4 at 01:49 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- Jeanette Lynn Lusich watches the trucks carrying the FEMA trailers zoom past her property -- and her tents -- on Lower Bay Road.

It’s now nine-and-a-half weeks since she and her family lost their home and possessions in Hurricane Katrina.

When we visited in late October, she was pretty cheerful about life for her husband and teenage sons, given the circumstances.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (78 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

One month after Katrina

Posted: Friday, November 4 at 08:26 am CT by

(Editor's note: This post is from an e-mail Maria Russell sent to her friends and family on Sept. 29. The photos were taken by Maria and her husband, Dave.)

It’s hard to believe that Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf coast one month ago today. Time sure goes by fast even when you’re NOT having fun.

Life is different now, and that’s an understatement. For the past two weeks, we have been able to park our little truck camper (which gets smaller and smaller by the day) at the Dodge dealership on Highway 90 in Bay St. Louis, thanks to our good friend, John.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (0 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

The Needs List

Posted: Friday, November 4 at 08:23 am CT by

(Editor's note: This post is from an e-mail Maria Russell sent to her friends and family on Oct. 12.)

It's been more than 6 weeks after Hurricane Katrina and life is going on. Our weather has cooled down a lot and the days have been so pleasant. Makes doing all this "outside work" so much easier to deal with!

Are you and your community still wanting and wondering what you can do to help with the relief effort? Well, I thought the following list might be helpful. While I was working (actually, volunteering) at the Chamber yesterday, a woman who is a business owner in Waveland came in with a Needs List. Waveland and Bay St. Louis are one-in-the-same, in my opinion. One melds into the other; when they rebuild, they should combine the two and make it "Bay Waveland," Mississippi. But what do I know?

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (1 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

For soldier's mom, Katrina's impact diminished

Posted: Thursday, November 3 at 10:12 pm CT by

DIAMONDHEAD, Miss. –- Everybody has a Katrina story in the cities of Bay St. Louis and Waveland. Most people are homeless, or at least forced into trailers or relatives' homes. They are frustrated by the endless red tape and anguished about an uncertain future in a region where recovery is measured by tons of debris moved, number of houses demolished and businesses back in business.

They are tired of FEMA trailers, tired of the bureaucracy, tired of the devastation, tired from worrying about money, their jobs and their children.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (614 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

Schools limp toward opening

Posted: Thursday, November 3 at 07:38 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- After Katrina, School Superintendent Kim Stasny quickly set about assessing the damage to the system she had worked hard to build up. She quickly realized it was extreme.

All six public schools in the Bay St. Louis-Waveland School District were hit hard. In the best cases, all contents were ruined -- electrical systems, sheetrock, computers, lockers and books, study materials. In the worst cases, buildings were reduced to piles of rubble.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (6 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

Nurses make 'the best paid painters'

Posted: Thursday, November 3 at 06:19 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- In another world, Brenda Hoffman is the intensive care unit services pediatric manager at Hancock Medical Center while Sydney Saucier is the medical unit manager.

But that was before Hurricane Katrina. These days Hoffman is the paint manager while Saucier doubles as the purchasing stock agent and trash cleanup coordinator.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (16 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

Next »

ARCHIVES

August 31, 2008 - September 6, 2008
August 24, 2008 - August 30, 2008
March 16, 2008 - March 22, 2008
August 26, 2007 - September 1, 2007
April 29, 2007 - May 5, 2007
January 28, 2007 - February 3, 2007
December 31, 2006 - January 6, 2007
December 24, 2006 - December 30, 2006
November 26, 2006 - December 2, 2006
November 12, 2006 - November 18, 2006
November 5, 2006 - November 11, 2006
October 29, 2006 - November 4, 2006
October 15, 2006 - October 21, 2006
October 8, 2006 - October 14, 2006
October 1, 2006 - October 7, 2006
September 10, 2006 - September 16, 2006
August 27, 2006 - September 2, 2006
August 20, 2006 - August 26, 2006
July 30, 2006 - August 5, 2006
July 23, 2006 - July 29, 2006
June 25, 2006 - July 1, 2006
May 28, 2006 - June 3, 2006
May 21, 2006 - May 27, 2006
May 14, 2006 - May 20, 2006
May 7, 2006 - May 13, 2006
April 30, 2006 - May 6, 2006
April 23, 2006 - April 29, 2006
April 16, 2006 - April 22, 2006
April 9, 2006 - April 15, 2006
April 2, 2006 - April 8, 2006
March 26, 2006 - April 1, 2006
March 19, 2006 - March 25, 2006
March 12, 2006 - March 18, 2006
March 5, 2006 - March 11, 2006
February 26, 2006 - March 4, 2006
February 19, 2006 - February 25, 2006
February 12, 2006 - February 18, 2006
February 5, 2006 - February 11, 2006
January 29, 2006 - February 4, 2006
January 22, 2006 - January 28, 2006
January 15, 2006 - January 21, 2006
January 8, 2006 - January 14, 2006
January 1, 2006 - January 7, 2006
December 25, 2005 - December 31, 2005
December 18, 2005 - December 24, 2005
December 11, 2005 - December 17, 2005
December 4, 2005 - December 10, 2005
November 27, 2005 - December 3, 2005
November 20, 2005 - November 26, 2005
November 13, 2005 - November 19, 2005
November 6, 2005 - November 12, 2005
October 30, 2005 - November 5, 2005
October 23, 2005 - October 29, 2005
October 16, 2005 - October 22, 2005

slide show

What's new

Latest daily dispatches:

Latest in-depth features:

Latest citizen diaries:

Meet the locals from the towns:

More hurricane aftermath coverage

Story tips?