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

It's a decision: Camille's staying

Posted: Thursday, November 10 at 11:22 am CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. — When we last spoke to Camille Tate three weeks ago, she was still agonizing over whether to commit to the stress and expense of rebuilding her bungalow on Main Street or leave town.

Tate is 69 years old, after all, and she's a real estate agent, so she knows very well just how daunting a task it would be to go through with rebuilding. Even so, she says now, she's going to do it. "I know I'm going to have a home here in Bay St. Louis."

CONTINUED »

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Will we be 'SHRAC'ed?

Posted: Thursday, November 10 at 08:49 am CT by

My new vocabulary term for the day: SHRAC

The acronym SHRAC stands for “Shoreline Retreat Advisory Commission” and was created by Dr. Rob Young of Western Carolina University. SHRAC is intended to stop the redevelopment of small coastal towns affected by hurricanes, since it costs the government so much.

CONTINUED »

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Children of the storm

Posted: Thursday, November 10 at 08:40 am CT by

As a teacher of K-5 kids, I've found it interesting to watch the recovery that my students are making.

The first few days back were filled with confusion as all of the returning students were funneled into one classroom per grade level while we waited for our portable trailers to be ready. While I helped the coaches do outdoor activities (I usually teach fine arts; art, music, dance and drama), the teachers in the classrooms and the counselors heard stories and talked about the storm.

CONTINUED »

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Here come the rumors

Posted: Wednesday, November 9 at 06:47 pm CT by

Here come the rumors. As if I really need something else to worry about today after another sleepless night of worries. I pray that none of them are true. After Katrina did her hit and run, my family was more fortunate than some, well at least I thought we were. I may have been counting my blessings and thanking the good Lord for nothing.

Three weeks after the storm, Governor Barbour opened up Buccaneer State Park to all first responders and essential personnel for operations of both cities of Bay St. Louis and Waveland. I don’t know what this state would do without him. I know he is trying to breathe life back into our coast. The 201 travel trailers from FEMA came rolling in. We were assigned one by FEMA and this family rolled into it. It was such a luxury to have a shower after weeks without one.

CONTINUED »

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My fashionable idea

Posted: Wednesday, November 9 at 06:42 pm CT by

When we were cleaning up our house I was taking a break on what used to be my couch and I thought it would be a really good picture (if you put me in a haute couture gown, did my hair and makeup and all). You would have to keep the muddy workboots though. So I sent a letter to Anna Wintour. Because that would be a very powerful photo shoot. Don't you think? I havent gotten any reply from her but if anyone knows her you might mention the little girl from Mississippi with the great idea.

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You write the caption

Posted: Wednesday, November 9 at 04:56 pm CT by

I've seen the future of news gathering--and it's not pretty. Actually, it's pretty embarrassing. That's me festooned in probably $15,000 worth of technology. And not a cent spent on style. So help us caption this picture. Take your best shot in the comments.

First, some background: A small team (well, two) from Microsoft accompanied us to Bay St. Louis last week to capture 360-degree video of the devastation. They practically invented the technology. And to our knowledge, this will be the first time it's even been used in news. The resulting movie is something akin to the panoramic photo at the top of this page, only moving video in every direction. For the most part, they strapped the shiny red cylindrical camera to the roof of their rental car and roamed the neighborhoods. But cars can't venture inside obliterated buildings or drive down a beach littered with debris. That's were I, the human tripod (or is it bipod?), came in.

CONTINUED »

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Lori Gordon: Creating treasures from trash

Posted: Wednesday, November 9 at 01:29 pm CT by

Click "Play" above to see and hear artist Lori Gordon forage through piles of debris in the woods where her home and studio once stood, seeking bits and pieces to use for her post-Katrina works of art.

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- At first, artist Lori Gordon combed through the wreckage of her neighborhood with trepidation, fearing that she would come across her husband’s cat or, worse, a human body. But that didn’t happen, and over time she came to find comfort and sanity in the activity — salvaging bits and pieces from the mountains of rubble in the woods after Katrina swept away the home, studio and treehouse retreat she shared with her husband, David Wheeler, a wood worker.

Replacing the body of artwork she lost in the storm is impossible, and replacing their home and studio is out of reach for now. But Gordon’s peregrinations have given her a toehold in the future, as she creates new mixed media pieces from the mud-caked fragments she has salvaged from the rubble.

CONTINUED »

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Surreal scenes of destruction

Posted: Wednesday, November 9 at 12:37 pm CT by

Waveland and Bay St. Louis awoke Wednesday morning to a blanket of fog, creating a different perspective of the destruction for a new reporter in town.

Usually, the devastation is awesome in its sweep; John Brecher, our multimedia producer here this week, says you can go anywhere and it's flattened houses, gutted cars and snapped trees as far as the eye can see. Today, however, the eye can see only about 5 feet. It's curiously like being inside a video game -- details pop up in isolated tableaux as you pass by, one by one by one. John is forever stopping to take pictures of small details you likely wouldn't notice on a clear day.

CONTINUED »

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Artwork is a Katrina survivor

Posted: Wednesday, November 9 at 08:12 am CT by

Click on the image at left, then hit the "Play" button to hear artist Elizabeth Veglia describe her design of this tile mosaic mural.

The mural is the only part of Waveland's City Hall left behind by Hurricane Katrina.

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Hard times, but back online

Posted: Tuesday, November 8 at 08:19 pm CT by

Welcome to my first Internet blog. It's been really hard living down here. I can barely ride my skateboard down the street without having to walk around a pile of debris. My best friend since kindergarten moved to Florida. The bottom half of my house doesn't have walls. We got Internet last night. This is the first time I've checked my e-mail in weeks. I had like 600 messages. (OK, I over exaggerated a little bit, but I had a lot.)

I started school about a month ago. It was a little surreal. Every weekend I would come home and have to work. Sometimes my dad and I would go work at other people's houses and do stuff there. Well that's all for tonight. I'll write more sometime.

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