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

Trying to beat the bulldozer

Posted: Saturday, December 31 at 07:50 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – The Heritage Conservation Network is in a race against time on the Gulf Coast.

The nonprofit organization is seeking to preserve as many materials as possible from significant homes in Hancock County that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, including columns, doors, woodwork and flooring, in hopes that they can be recycled in the new structures that rise from the rubble.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (28 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

A ‘great bump’ of historic proportions

Posted: Friday, December 30 at 05:38 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- “It’s another of our great bumps,” is how Charles Gray, director of the Hancock County Historical Society, describes Hurricane Katrina’s horrific impact on Bay St. Louis, Waveland and the surrounding Mississippi Gulf Coast.

"Bump" though it may turn out to be, Katrina dealt a devastating blow to the Gulf Coast's rich architectural history, and much of Gray's time is now devoted photographically documenting the losses among the 576 homes in Hancock County that were on the National Registry of Historical Places prior to Katrina. To do that, he often has to turn to landmarks in order to identify the slabs of concrete where the grand homes once stood.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (34 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

4 months later: A brighter 2006?

Posted: Friday, December 30 at 01:55 pm CT by

051230_6months_hmed
Four months after Katrina struck, there are still mountains of debris to be cleaned up as this image taken in December in downtown Bay St. Louis shows. ( James Cheng / MSNBC.com)


Four months have passed since Hurricane Katrina roared ashore in Hancock County, Miss., changing forever in just a few hours the landscape and lives of its 46,000 residents.

In many ways, Bay St. Louis, Waveland and their surroundings are indeed rising from ruin. From Highway 90, the main commercial drag through both towns, to Beach Boulevard, which winds around the Bay of St. Louis and down the Gulf of Mexico, also tying the communities together, there is a hustle and bustle more befitting Wild West boomtowns than Southern verandas and bayous.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (51 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

Fireworks! Get yer fireworks here!

Posted: Thursday, December 29 at 09:51 am CT by

HANCOCK COUNTY, Miss. -- If you feel the urge to buy Artillery Shells, Warhawk Missiles, B-29 Bombers or even an 8-Shot Hurricane at 3 a.m., you need look no further than “Crazy Carl’s” fireworks stand off Highway 90.

Despite the fact that both Bay St. Louis and Waveland have banned fireworks sales and use this year, fearing the possibility of a conflagration starting in the debris of Hurricane Katrina, "Crazy Carl's" has found a legal niche by getting a permit to set up shop on a slice of county land near the border between the two cities.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (54 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

Ambitious plan for new homes

Posted: Wednesday, December 28 at 03:50 pm CT by

051221_habitat_01_1
Habitat for Humanity executive Larry Gluth looks over a map of Hancock County with Wendy McDonald of Bay St. Louis. (John Brecher / MSNBC.com)

KILN, Miss. -- An ambitious plan to replace some of the thousands of homes lost to Hurricane Katrina is quickly taking shape on computer screens, drawing boards and back roads here in Hancock County.

Habitat for Humanity, the 30-year-old Christian-based nonprofit popularized by former President Jimmy Carter, plans to build “thousands and thousands” of homes via its self-help program during the next several years in hurricane-devastated communities across the South.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (93 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

Hospital is off life support

Posted: Wednesday, December 28 at 09:30 am CT by

See how the Hancock Medical Center was damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- Like a patient coming out of major surgery, the hospital serving this and neighboring towns is slowly recovering.

And like a chief surgeon, Hal Leftwich, administrator of the Hancock Medical Center (http://www.hmc.org/), is watching his patient closely. Left homeless by Katrina like so many other locals, he is living in a FEMA trailer behind the hospital, next to two “dorm” trailers for ER nurses and doctors.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (21 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

Jerry West: A special bond of man and place

Posted: Tuesday, December 27 at 04:26 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – If you want to learn a little something of Hancock County, there are any number of pleasant folks hereabouts who will kindly show you the sights and tell a tale or two.

But if you want the true lowdown, you will go with Jerry West. You will learn some good shortcuts for navigating the streets that slice across Highway 90 at angles confusing to an outsider. You will learn who lived where before Hurricane Katrina struck, which businesses are open and which were destroyed. You will learn where they might build condos.

But listen and watch closely and you will learn something far better than all of that.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (79 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

Saving photos -- and memories

Posted: Tuesday, December 27 at 09:06 am CT by

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.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (31 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

Swinging and sliding ahead

Posted: Monday, December 26 at 06:10 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- Among the many signs that this town will return to better times in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is a shiny new playground in the heart of downtown.

The colorful facility, which sports four swings, a triple-wide slide, tiny teahouse, high-tech zip line and sand box, was bought to town by Kaboom!, a non-profit group that focuses on helping communities build playgrounds throughout the United States.

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (30 comments) Email thisEmail this | Link to thisLink to this

Carter Church: The Mardi Gras man

Posted: Monday, December 26 at 02:57 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. -- Carter Church’s heart may be in Bay St. Louis, but Carnival is in his blood. But then that’s to be expected of a man who’s reigned for nearly half a century as one of the pre-eminent costume makers for the courts of Mardi Gras Krewes.

“My family was always involved in Mardi Gras,” says the 62-year-old Church. “My grandfather was a member of Rex (an organization that helped create many of the traditions of New Orleans' Mardi Gras celebration). "Mardi Gras runs in the family, but it tended to skip generations because my father wasn’t terribly interested in Mardi Gras but I got the bug as a kid.”

CONTINUED »

DiscussDiscuss (35 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?