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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.

Map of Southeaster United States

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.

Background on the towns and this project is available under the about tab above.

Click here for bios of the reporters and media producers who have worked on the series.

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As the rebuilding of Bay St. Louis and Waveland progresses day by day, the time has come to step back to get a broader perspective of what’s happening in the Hurricane Katrina-ravaged towns on which we have focused since the storm.

In the months ahead, rotating teams of MSNBC.com reporters will spend one week a month in "Bay-Waveland" reporting and producing a series of stories on the towns’ battle to rebuild after the most destructive storm in U.S. history. Look for our next update late this month.

The change from "daily dispatch" reporting to fewer but more in-depth reports springs from our desire to spend less time detailing the daily aggravations of life in the storm zone and more time reporting on the big issues that will determine the future of the entire hurricane-ravaged region. In addition to using the time between reports to dig deeper into topics like housing, health care and insurance, we will endeavor to place the progress and disappointments in Bay St. Louis and Waveland in the context of what is playing out elsewhere along the Gulf Coast.

In the meantime, our citizen blog posters will continue to file their thoughts on a regular basis.

While avid readers of the series and residents of this beautiful but battered corner of Mississippi may be disappointed by less-frequent nature of our reports, we assure you it doesn't mean we’re losing interest. We remain committed to sharing the story of the struggle to rebuild these two vital towns with the rest of the world.

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Thanks for everything but mostly for not forgetting us. Will keep looking for upcoming articles.

Like all the others, I am grateful for the coverage of Bay/Waveland. I guess the real story is how heroic each one of us can be when our neighbor is in need, or our loved ones and most impressively, strangers face devastating circumstances. When Katrina came, it was your neighbor who carried you to the second floor, and then the attic if you were in a wheelchair and didn't evacuate. It was your neighbor who took you in, when your house was a pile of sticks. It was your neighbor, in a far away state, who came in firetrucks, or with dogs to find the living and help to care for and locate the dead. I know so many heros and heroines, just people I grew up with... people of courage and fortitude and faith. I have been overwhelmed by the compassion and generosity of our country. So thank you MSNBC for telling the story. Thank you Bay St. Louis and Waveland for being who you are, and thank you friends and neighbors from across the country for caring and helping. We are all made better and wiser by this terrible storm, if only in the way it has panned for the gold in our make up and who we are has surfaced for all to see. We live in an age where the trivial and vain seems to fill our television sets, and the heroic has seemed a bit naive, and old fashioned. I thank God that compassion and courage have not died in this country. I am proud to be an American, and to call Bay St. Louis my home town.

I wish this story were over...but like Ms. Wahler said, it isn't. I'd like to wake up from the nightmare and find that everything is back the way it used to be. But it's not, and it won't be for a long long time, if ever. So please, America, don't forget the people of the coast. When 911 happened, they sent firetrucks and people to help cook for the first responders. It took a long time to clear up after Sept. 11th and it was a very small area compared to the sweep of Katrina's arms on the coast. It will take years for life on the coast to feel anything like normal. So please, if you can, try to plan a trip down to help. Go to any of the towns on the coast, a week of your time will change your life forever, and help someone else's move on. To volunteer see: www.disastercorps.org/

We want to thank MSNBC for your support and for keeping the nation appraised of our progress in The Waveland and Bay St. Louis area. My Husband and I had recently bought our retirement residence in Waveland. We had finished remodeling and furnishing it just three months before Katrina hit.

We still plan to retire there and are working with our Church in Minnetonka, MN, Ridgewood Community Church, to continue sending relief to this area. Specefically we are working with the Calvary Baptist church on McLauran and Longfellow. I have spent weeks helping sort and distribute clothing and food to the residents of this area. At one point we were receiving NEW CLOTHING from companies in New York. However, three weeks back or maybe four the companies called and turned thier trucks back saying that they had seen a TV special pointing out the misuse of clothing and how it was being sold off. While there may be people taking advantage of the clothing in some areas I had not seen that to be the case at the church where I was working. I truly wish I could explain the expressions on people's faces when they would see new clothes in our tent. There was such a glow. So many of the clothes being donated to us were used and in many cases not cleaned and were very worn, so you know what a treat it was to have something new.

Don't misunderstand me many of the clothes donated to us were in great shape and clean and many of the baby clothes and toddler clothes coming in were bought new and given to us. However, New Clothes in many sizes was just the greatest. It so sad that the wrong doings of a few can stop the aid that so many still need. As the weather chnages so do the needs of the people. What they needed when it was 90's plus is different than what they need now with the rainy season upon them and the temps in 30's to 50's. Yes there are warmer days now and then, but is is much cooler now than in September and October.

So many people still do not have cars, share rides with neighbors and do still need help in so many areas. If clothes are given and food donated funds are left available for medical supplies, and building materials.

The nation has been very generious, but know there is still a need for the necessities. We are still boiling water in so many areas. Having water still donated for free pickup is a major help.

I Pray someone will contact me and let me share with them some of the needs we have in the Waveland area.

will take new roads and highway with developers and buyers paying for land from people who had homes there.

I want to thank MSNBC for all the excellent coverage you have provided of the Bay-Waveland area. It is so important that the rest of this nation get a view of the disaster that puts a face on it. It is only if people can relate to what others are going through that they will be motivated to action, be it through volunteerism, donations, or through the political process. Your stories have done this well! From a personal aspect, I have enjoyed seeing reports of the area I grew up in. I still recognize many of the persons/entities spotlighted. As after Camile, this will be a years, if not decades, long process. I hope MSNBC maintains the follow-up they promise!

Thank you so much for the daily updates and thank you for continuing them in a broader format. You have been the only network to keep an eye focused on the Gulf Coast and we all know your efforts have contributed to the progress being made there. Through your reports on Waveland/Bay St Louis, we have been able to get a glimpse of what our North Biloxi relatives must be going through. As someone who could only give a monetary contribution, I would also like to say thank you to those who have been able to give of their time - the 'invisible' groups from schools, churches, businesses, civic organizations, and just plain folk from across the United States who continue to show up all along the Coast as volunteers, doing whatever is needed. My niece's church in Mobile AL did Thanksgiving dinner for a small fishing community along the Alabama coast and she was amazed at the number of other church and school groups who are still coming to help. The 'silent majority' is alive and well. Thank you for continuing your coverage. God Bless.


I was sad today when I sat down for my usual lunchtime routine - grab a sandwich and log on to msnbc.com to see what is happening along the Gulf Coast. When the website came up, the link to Rising from Ruin wasn't in its usual place, but instead was along the right column. I guess it is kind of like everything else. Eventually, people forget the suffering of others because no one tells them about it. It becomes less and less important. While I do deeply appreciate the time and attention that MSNBC has given to this coverage and in providing this wonderful website, it troubles me that there will be less coverage now. The only hurricane aftermath coverage we are seeing now on the news is about New Orleans. We have seen nothing about those towns in SW Louisiana that were wiped out by Rita. We are seeing very little, perhaps only a passing mention occasionally, of those towns along the Gulf Coast devastated by Katrina. I guess the people of the United States will be able to sleep a little easier now, knowing that their fellow Americans in the Deep South are doing great now that they're back on their feet. I mean, after all, once you have a FEMA trailer, life is back to normal, right? Thanks, MSNBC, for what you have done but PLEASE don't push this aside and let America forget. I guess I'll be like Andy now and have to get back to work.

Thanks for letting the world know about us. I feel there are some many stories that have not been told.
The seniors in high school (what about them?) No one helped them with a prom, a home coming. They missed so much. All the people that have no homes but jobs to go to, or homes to repair but no time because they have a job. (yes, a job is a great thing to still have but so difficult to go to after sleeping in a tent, in a FEMA trailer or after digging thru your home trying to find your life)
I have been working at my job and on my home. I was on the list for help but if I waited my home would just be getting started now.
No one seeked to assitance us in my neighborhood. No family adopted my family nor my children for christmas. I see all these wonderful stories but I do not see the story of the lone ranger, doing it all alone with no help. Not even taking a break.
Soon there will be a new problem in our towns. Exhaustion----- we will need help with that too.

So many of us still need the prayers. Please keep them going.

after being in lakeshore, ms just west of waveland, it was nice to feel like i was still connected down there. thanks for all the coverage you did. can't wait for the updates.

I miss big link on the main msnbc.com - but I bookmarked the site and will be checking in for more information. I spent 10 days in Gulfport in November doing relief work, and hope to travel down to help rebuild during the spring. I don't think people have any idea what it really like down there - please don't let us forget!

May GOD contine to Bless MSNBC.I grew up in Waveland,and still have family in Waveland and Bay St Louis.Reading your articles everyday helped me in so many ways.Because there were no phones,I depended on MSNBC to keep me informed on everything that was happening.I even found out that a family member that was missing is alive thanks to MSNBC.I will contine read MSNBC.THANK YOU,THANK YOU,THANK YOU,THANK YOU

Dear Average citizen, I don't know where you are with your house, or what it needs, but disaster corps might be able to help. I don't know how they rank needs, but it's worth a shot. We had our kids working with them gutting houses, and they had people supervising the work that was done. I know they are looking for skilled craftsmen now, to help: electricians, etc. So they obviously do more than gutting. I wish I were better with directions, but they're located at the ballfield in Bay St. Louis. Not the SSC field, but the other one, closer to the library, I want to say it is down Caroll Ave, but maybe it's DeMontluzin. Sorry for such a lame discription. They also have a phone number on their web site: 252-883-1776. I hope you get some help. It's too heavy a load to carry without a little breather. God bless you. Hang in there.

i know it's a time of change.....but is taking....Mississippi's web page from your top page....gonna help ya????....geeez

shoot....man...i thought about it ....if i'm gonna hafta go back to work.....MSNBC...should send me a helper....for spoiling me.....SEND the da** helper NOW!!!

Although now in CT, I grew up spending my weekends on the Jourdan River in Kiln and eating po-boys at Lil' Rays in Waveland. This part of the country is truly God's country! Just got back from Bay St. Louis in Dec. delivering goods and volunteering at the Supply Tent at Main St. Methodist Church in the Bay. Linda's 1/9/09 posting is so true regarding clothes. While volunteering, a man came in looking for a suit to wear to his grandfather's funeral. I had nothing at that time to offer him. I wanted so much to cry - I felt so helpless. Regarding the change in weather, pray for all of those individuals who find themselves in uninsulated FEMA trailers. I'll go back with a Disaster Response team next week and look forward to my continued work.
URGENT NEED: I received a call from the lead teacher at one local school with the following need...
IS ANYONE DRIVING FROM THE D.C. AREA IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS? SOMEONE IN THE D.C. (VIRGINIA) AREA HAS OFFICE DIVIDERS READY TO DONATE TO C.B. MURPHY ELEMENTARY (formerly in Pearlington but temporarily housed in trailers in Kiln). BUT, SHIPPING COSTS HAVE PREVENTED THEM FROM BEING DELIVERED. Please contact me at 860-651-7148 if you can add these to your delivery to the Waveland/Kiln area.
Thank you.

Thank you for all the great info from MS. I've checked this site every day and will continue to look for new info. While I've never been to MS or the Gulf Coast, how can you not feel something for people who lost sooo much? When you see how the GOVT and the insurance companies are allowed to get away with treating people like sh**, you could at least read about some of the good on this site. To all the people dealing with this trajedy, please know there are a lot of us praying for you - and hoping somehow we'll be able to help in the future.

The website for Hope Haven once again is www.hopehavenshelter.org.
I hope that it doesn't get deleted this time.

Man ....ya'll ain't forgot.....as long as i draw a breath.....and hopely....many more like me!!!!!....GO MISSISSIPPI!!!!....we will overcome this s***

I want to thank MSNBC for focusing on the Bay and Waveland - I was born and raised in Bay St. Louis and have lived here all my life, including the past 4 months! It is really unbelievable that if you were to come here, it would look to you like the storm hit yesterday! However, I can see improvements everyday! I would like to share some of my stories and first hand accounts of the truth and how it has been here since the storm - and how far we have come! Without the out pouring of love, compassion and generosity of the great people in this country, I'm not sure if many of us would have survived AFTER the storm. It has been the Mississippi National Guard (cleared our streets within a couple of days so we could get to our rubble), private citizens and Christine groups that have given us food, water, ice, helped us Gut our homes, and most of all - Hope!! If I receive feedback from this email that you are interested in hearing more from the Bay, or if anyone wants to know the truth about a particular subject, I will write more. If I do not have accurate information on something you want to know, I will be totally honest and tell you so.

T. Ryan, Bay St. Louis, MS

I think the only way that areas other than New Orleans got any help was from the news people going in and telling us about their plight. Also, the informtion from the citizens makes us see not only the individual plight, but the community plight as to libraries and other projects that would ordinarily be overlooked. We American's are very much out of sight, out of mind people. This not only is one of our nations greatest natural disasters, but one that showed us we have a long way to go in govermental efficiency, race relations and may other facets of life. I share the feelings of many of others that if the story is not there all the time it will be forgotten. KEEP TELLING THE STORY EVERYDAY.

Since Mississippi stayed focused and did not erupt into the chaos of New Orleans, it did not get the media coverage. Keep the word out that Mississippi suffered perhaps greater destruction, and its people deserve praise and support for the way they have conducted themselves.

I cannot begin to thank MSNbC for the coverage they provided to the nation in regards to our little communities. I was fortunate enough to spend time with Miguel and James when they did my profile and I feel like I was treated with the utmost care and respect. How many news agencies would keep staff in the area to report when every other agency pulled out? MSNBC understood that in order to be accurate, they must be HERE...so they stayed. Thank you MSNBC, for your professionalism and compassion. Thank you all who cared to hear about us, check on us and contribute time, money tears, encourageent and prayers to all of us on the coast. We will not soon forget your kindness. We have far to go before we will see "normal" agan..but we are strong, and we will be back!

I went down to Bay St Louis for relief work the week before Thanksgiving and was amazed to not only see the scope of Katrina's destruction but the still-stunned looks on the faces of many of the locals.

While our group did much hard physical work for most of the daylight hours available to us, I feel that our biggest contribution was just being there to listen to these people's stories and provide some reassurance that we wouldn't be the last assistance to come their way.

One such story we found in Waveland.

Montford had open heart surgery to replace a bad valve a few days before Katrina and, barely surviving the storm, was living in a tent surrounded by debris when we arrived. He hadn't seen anyone at his home since it was spraypainted uninhabitable some 75 days earlier. He was near despair. We cleared his lot of the trees/debris (so the Fema trailer could be delivered), left him some cash and maybe just a little hope.

We are planning to return to Bay St Louis in April and have been advised by a local that people are 'starting to get fed-up' with the slow pace of reconstruction and may 'take matters into their own hands'.

I am not sure what that means, but I do know that people with hope have more patience than those that don't.

Thank you for covering other states (such as Texas) instead of just New Orleans,your great!

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