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Rising from Ruin is an on-going MSNBC.com special report chronicling two coastal Mississippi towns, Bay St. Louis and Waveland, as they rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

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This project is evolving. Our daily dispatches coverage has been retired. Click here to see what happened in the area between mid October and January 1, 2006.

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Today is Tuesday. Tomorrow is Wednesday. Yesterday was Wednesday. It's a never ending cycle. Up until Katrina hit. I had just entered the sixth grade and was just getting into the hang of things. It all seemed so normal.

But after Katrina nothing made sense. Tuesday could have been Sunday. Halloween was Easter and you couldn't put it back together. It was like a puzzle, but there was one piece missing, and one that just didn't fit. Now it's starting to come back. But it wasn't that way for a long time. We would almost live outside, only going in to sleep. We would rarely wash cloths. And do the general cleaning, sweeping vacuming dusting the whole deal, less if any.

Even now some people are still living in tents and sleeping on the ground. I can't imagine what it's like just watching. Even when the news shuts off it's still there. Even after you finish reading this blog it will still be there. It will be here for ages.

All the great buildings, memorials, even people lost will never come back. It's gone. Gone is a strong word. It's permanent, you can't turn your back on it, it's always there, or not there, however you want to put it. I guess I'm sounding kind of demented, or not. Probably just crazy. Well, whatever it is. We bless what is there, mourn for what is gone, and welcome in what's new.

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Noah, you are an extremely talented writer. While you say you can't imagine what it's like just watching, I can't imagine what it's like living it. And no, you are not sounding kind of demented, you are sounding like a very well-adjusted, mature young man who is learning to deal with life in a way that the majority of this world will never experience. You end this diary entry with a very touching statement.

Noah, I'm so sorry for all you have gone through in the last 5 months...and for all that is gone. I am hoping and praying that some day, at least, the debris will also be gone...and some of the pain will be gone. I know how heartbreaking this is, for you and for everyone on the coast. Wish we could make hurricanes gone too. Keep blessing what is there... there is so much good to bless. You are not crazy. The world is upside down now and you've had to figure out how to function some how. It is courageous of you to welcome the new. We keep praying for many blessings to come to the Bay and for the new that comes to be wholesome and good. God bless you and everyone who have lost so much.

Noah,....this has not been a good time for {you and yours}...and multitudels like all ya'll....but at to young of a age you found out .....life usually sucks....no matter where ya are....man ya gotta make the best of what ya have.....our thoughts are with you.....stick in there buddy

Noah, you don't sound demented. Actually you sound poetic in this post; good job explaining it to me, who's never had the pleasure of visiting your fine state, before or after the hurricane. The feeling of never ending days.... that happens also when you're unemployed, like me. I so know that feeling. It sort of makes you feel like you're going out of your mind.

Noah, I am so glad to read that a little understanding and passion for life may be coming back to you. You were forced to be brave and face your fears very early on in life. I hope that you continue to find the right path, your path through all the anguish you feel. I will be thinking of you. Please take care. Sandy


I'm from Gulfport. My family and I have been living in Horn Lake, Ms (up by Memphis)since we lost our home during Katrina. You don't sound demented at all to me. I understood every word. You brought tears to my eyes. Stay strong. Our beautiful Gulf Coast will be back one day. It may not look the same, but it will have wonderful people like you

Noah, You don't seem crazy, you seem rather level headed. You are so young yet after these experiences you are wise beyond your years. Keep the faith. Thank you for sharing

Each small thing that comes back is a victory of sorts. I never though I could get so excited hearing that yet another restaurant or club has opened even if it's in another location. I miss everything that is gone so much but I try so hard to find some light at the end of that tunnel. Keep finding some positive thoughts Noah.

I understand the confusion. It must be surreal having to deal with all the changes at such a young age. Hang in there. This is something you will tell your grandchildren about and getting through it will make you a stronger person. Good luck.

I have been looking, Noah, for some way to describe it all - 5 months post-Katrina - to my friends and relatives scattered about the world. I haven't been able to find the words, but you did. And, if you allow me, I'd like to use them too. Those words are, "Even when the news shuts off it's still there." How true,how moving, how eerily accurate. On rare occasions we find words that seem just perfect.

Sometimes after working a day in the rubble in the Bay, I take my weary self home and sit on the floor of my shower and let the water fall on me. I try to close my eyes and release the visions of the day, but they sear my eyes. Yes, you got it right, even when the news shuts off, it's still there.

You are a fantastic writer. I'm so sorry for your loss and grief...for everybody that had to go through such a horrible disaster. My heart goes out to everyone.

I recently had a young girl come to my home from Gulfport, Mississippi. She is a friend of my daughters. Each day she would wake up and say gosh it is so good to see normalcy in life. She had never seen snow before either so she was quite estatic about it. But every day I would look on the internet on this website and drown myself into the life of what the people of Mississippi were going through and through my daughter's friend's stories, her tears, her fears, and her appreciation for life itself, and the pictures I would see and the prayers I continue to say. For the young man who wrote this, you will rise about this, you will be a better man, and you will learn appreciation like no other and respect the little you have and give to others who have not. My daughter was in Hurricane Charley in Florida couple years ago, I spent agonizing days trying to find her and my mom. I am blessed they are alive today and for those who perished during Katrina, they are really home.

Noah~ You are a fantastic writer and very expressive with your words. You should keep a journal of all your thoughts and experiences. All that you have faced and dealt with at such a young age is hard to fathom. I wish you all the best, keep looking forward, my thoughts are with you. Trina - Seattle,Wa

Well put, Noah. Maybe you could practice writing and get to the guitar later...


See ya,

Mr. Mark

I'm so glad that you aren't gone!
You, your family, and your whole town just recieved more prayers sent up to heaven. Every time I pray, blessings fall down. Continue to welcome in all new.

Noah, I think you're handling this better than a lot of us "grown-ups," because you haven't lost your compassion. It's hard not to become numb to the things we see day after day. Things are gonna be great--better than ever. Hope to see you soon.

Thanks a lot guys I appreciacte all your thaughts

Noah, we will all keep our ears open to hear your name in the future. Your beautiful spirit, your ability to speak from your broken heart with no trace of bitterness, your way with words...I anticipate hearing of your talents (perhaps musical as a previous post suggested?) at some point in the future, when you are the voice of the victims of Katrina, leading out in praise to God and welcoming what is new.

i know what you're like when you're demented and just then, you sounded like a totally different person. i'm litterally on the verge of tears. it's almost like you read my mind and put into words. i've been despreratly trying to figure out how.thank you, so much, noah. talk to you later

Natural disasters happen all the time. We grow stronger from our experiences, good and bad.

I have friends and family that have never gotten over Hurrican Andrew...and that one happened before your day.

Dear Noah, well put! I loved reading what you wrote, your grandmother is right, you have a beautiful talent for writing, I do hope you are keeping a journal of your thoughts. You have lived through a terrible experience for a young man going into the sixth grade.
Aunt Diane

Dear Noah - We are so touched by your insight and compassion! I, too, think you are a budding writer/poet - keep your journal near. You can express for many what so many need to hear and know.
As someone who was greatly affected by Katrina because of the anguish and devastation I JUST KNEW was going to happen even BEFORE landfall, and having experienced Betsy as a 7 year old, my heart goes out to you and yours and the millions of souls ALL involved. God Bless You!

Dear Noah, Your confusion and lack of knowing whether it's Monday or Tuesday, Easter or Halloween, shows me that your are far from demented, and more likley, a perfectly normal affected young man. Your upside down days and uncomfortable nights have made you so brilliantly aware. Your writing is profound and actually shows your clarity. Your knowledge of your surroundings is in complete focus. Your family is always in our prayers. Love your Aunt Carolines, "very proud to know you" friend, Sophia

Noah, Keep up your writing and you will be a better writer they your Father. You have grown up so much from your experiences. Sorry Katrina had to come along.
Granna "B"

sounds exactly like it is! I'm in Gulfport and after the hurricane, my wife and I would be talking and I would say, 'we heard that or saw that yesterday or the day before.' Then she would say, 'That was this morning.' Time slowed down and almost stopped. Christmas was just another day because there still was nowhere to shop and it was 80 degrees outside. It took years to cleanup after Camille, but this will move along faster. Maybe only 5 - 8 years before there will be few signs of Katrina.

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