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

Communication nightmare

Posted: Tuesday, November 22 at 12:22 pm CT by

Can you imagine going from a normal world one day where you can pick up the phone and get in touch with family, friends, whomever to the next day where everything is disconnected? It’s unreal and unsettling. Evacuating for the hurricane was bad enough but being unable to communicate was a real nightmare!

In the days immediately after the storm, I was unable to find both of my children and their families. I knew that they were safe because they had evacuated but I could not reach them. My daughter and family had evacuated to Shreveport, La., and my son and family to Canton, Miss. Our cell service proved inoperable in placing calls within Mississippi or Louisiana due to the storm. Finally we figured out how to call my stepson in South Carolina who was able to reach them. Ironically, he could not call us back so we had call him back for relayed messages. Even then the phone lines were often busy. It was almost a week later before I could hear their voices and learn what happened to them.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (2 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

We will rise from this ruin

Posted: Tuesday, November 22 at 07:17 am CT by

Just a quick update on progress. Wal-Mart opened its 57,000-square-foot express store this past weekend. It's nice. They have a little bit of everything you might need, like plastic bins for storage, small appliances for cooking in a FEMA trailer or a house without a stove, etc. And they have some basic food items. It was great to see all the people shopping.

I also rode down Highway 90 yesterday and noticed that a great deal of the debris has been picked up. That's always a good sign of progress. Don't get me wrong. If you ride down the streets of Waveland, Lakeshore, Clermont Harbor and Cedar Point, there are mounds and mounds of debris yet to be picked up. Those areas have a long way to go.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (5 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

Normal?

Posted: Monday, November 21 at 02:49 pm CT by

The weekend would have been a normal one if the bottom of our house had Sheetrock. On Friday, we went to the movies. We saw Harry Potter. Saturday we cleaned our back yard a little bit. My mom and I dropped my sister off at a birthday party and then went shopping. On Sunday we went to a Renaissance festival with some friends. So all in all it was a normal weekend except for the fact that when I wake up I watch the sun rise over the water, and a pile of debris.

DiscussDiscuss (7 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

A cold but cheery Thanksgiving

Posted: Monday, November 21 at 02:30 pm CT by

The weekend was way fun. We went to the Louisiana Renaissance festival. There were fewer shows than last year but it still fun.

It's getting really cold down here, and when I say really cold I mean REALLY, REALLY COLD!!! I barely have any jackets at all. The people from the big tent (Cavalry Chapel) are all bundled up. They even wear mittens under their plastic gloves. My mom bought me this orange fleece today, but it was already too warm to wear it. On Saturday me and my dad cleaned up the back yard.

On Tuesday we're having a Thanksgiving feast at our school. We always have one, but this year a church is bringing the food, instead of each family.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

DiscussDiscuss (7 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

Hair relief

Posted: Monday, November 21 at 01:59 pm CT by

Hairdresser Debbie Morton, a church volunteer from Chicago, cuts the hair of Reverend Frank Kendrick in the Kmart parking lot in Waveland.

Morton joined six students from the Vanguard College of Cosmetology in Slidell, La., and two other professional hairstylists in giving free haircuts on Sunday afternoon. The crew performed 97 haircuts in four hours.

Click "play" above to hear student Randall Watts talk about the role of hairdressing in helping people recover from disaster.

DiscussDiscuss (48 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

The gator in the living room

Posted: Sunday, November 20 at 10:32 pm CT by

PEARLINGTON, Miss. -- We hear a lot of incredible hurricane survival stories every day in Bay St. Louis and Waveland, where nearly three months later people still greet each other with reports of how many feet of water they had in their house.

But when we heard the story of the alligator in the living room we had to check it out, even though it took us a bit outside our usual area of interest to Pearlington, a town 20 miles west of Waveland that was decimated by Katrina.

To get to the bottom of the story, we dropped in on a meeting of the Pearlington Residents Committee.

The purpose of the meeting at the home of Lena Macillus was to discuss an effort to get Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood to investigate a plan for sewer service that the committee believes would be cost-prohibitive for the 52 percent of residents who live on fixed income, include one-third who live below the poverty line.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (407 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

Crystal and linen

Posted: Sunday, November 20 at 11:23 am CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS - The crystal glasses, china plates and heavy silverware at the Sycamore House on Main Street come as a pleasant shock to residents and visitors weary of eating church-provided meals, MREs and fast food off foam plastic plates.

The restaurant, in a historic 145-year-old house on Main Street, suffered almost no damage in Hurricane Katrina and reopened for business two weeks ago with a skeleton crew, limited menu and shortened operating hours.

Business was brisk Saturday night as owners Michael and Stella LeGardeur-Eastham completed their first full weekend since the storm with diners filling all tables in the Provence Room and spilling out onto the screened-in porch despite the chilly weather.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (29 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

« Previous

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?