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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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A car peeks from beneath a jumble of materials that used to be homes, a common sight in Waveland and Bay St. Louis. (Jim Seida / MSNBC.com)

Click here to see a timeline of multimedia stories we covered from late October to January.

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It's nice to see that MSNBC still cares enough to keep this site running.

Thank you MSNBC for allowing a voice for South Mississippi. Your devotion to this site has been comforting despite some of the ignorant comments about the progress on the coast.

As a lifelong resident of Pascagoula, MS it is so uplifting to witness the response of countless volunteers and workers. Unfortunately those who do not understand the extent of the damage also do not understand our experience after the hurricane. I would like to make it clear that we are no longer looking for sympathy. We have picked ourselves up by the bootstraps, and we are moving on with our lives. Many things are as normal as they can be here on the Coast, and we are optimistic about the future. People are getting new jobs and we are fixing our problems. We are extremely grateful for the outpouring of help in our area. We are aware of the many things others have done.

As each day goes by we count our small victories and look ahead to tomorrow. I would hate for the Gulf Coast to get a reputation of anything but a welcoming, loving community. That is the reason so many are choosing to stay. The people on the coast are unlike any other. We are resilient. We have survived, and we are moving ahead.

I can't even believe you wrote something that lame Mr.Texas man.FEELING SORRY? I think that's the last thing people that have been devistated from this hurricane are doing! I for one lost my mother and by the grace of God my sister was spared. She has had nothing but a long road after loosing her home,belongings,job, her life she was living there in Bay St. Louis. I went there to get her and I will tell you the road to have anything close to normal for these people is a long way to come,and unless you are one of these people trying to get help....don't praise what the wonderful goverment is doing for them because it's sad......

I would like to say that I appreciate the fact that there are still people out here in america that actually have a heart and can feel what others feel just like it were their own situation. Regardless if it takes help from people in other states for years, it's worth it to help another person. If there are some who do not like the way we help people here in America, move! That's what we do. Get use to it!

BERNIE - Please take a ride down to Bay St Louis and Waveland. Sit with a family in a FEMA trailer who are fighting with their insurance company because they refuse to pay. See the men who lost their business and again no insurance settlement yet so they can get back to work.
Yes, there are many on the road to recovery BUT there are many tied up in the system. There are more people NOT getting help than ones who are.
You know nothing of what is going on down here. Every family has their own story. As Mayor Longo of Waveland said it we have many elderly residents with little or no insurance sitting in their FEMA trailer just waiting, who might end up dying that way, waiting.
Do you want that for yourself or your family.
You need to shut up and come down here and spend one weekend helping these people so you can educate yourself on what has been lost in this two cities.
(Lets not forget the schools and the children. Trust me the money is not pouring in for them. They too need help and support.)

I have just returned from Pass Christan for the first time. I meat some of the pople and they are great. I work with a chruch group to help where we could . I must tell you that it will be a long time for those that live there, but I seen why they love the coastly area so much. There is alot of work to be done and those I spoke to said that most is beening done by indivuals not goverment. The out pooring of help and goods was amazing.Those that are there want the rest of the world to know that things are still very harsh and there help is still needed.

Mr. Bryant, I suggest it is appropriate for you to criticize only after the next F6 tornado trashes north Texas from Weatherford to Beaumont and then ONLY after you have spent the following five months trying to rebuild your life in Fort Worth without clean water, power, sanitation, a home or a job.

i can't believe there would be anyone out there that thinks the people of that area has gotten to much help. what would be to much food,& shelter, i think that's about all most of them has gotten. i visited new orleans last feb. it was a wonderful trip we met many wonderful people ate fantastic food enjoyed the scenes on burbeon st. visited all the places that is of intrest to visitors, i can't imagine what those areas look like today, i'm glad i have the memories from 1 year ago and not what i see on t.v. today. i hope if you want in that area you get you will rise and shine again & i can't wait to get back there for a visit

To all including Bernie,
Hurricane Katrina was a tragedy. Like many tragedies before her, we have learned that life does progress. No one disputes this. The problem is that we live in a world where daily we are innudated by the media regarding death and destruction. Not only in the US but in other countries as well. I know I cannot turn on the T.V without hearing that someone or many people have passed away due to war, violence, natural disasters etc. I am not suggesting that we not be informed but I am saying that because of this, our ability to absorb the enormity of what happened is diminished, not only by ignorance , but by our minds protective denial of our world as it exists today. We become immune, so to speak. To comprehend and sympathize and pray for the enormous amt of lives lost daily and for their families is a full time job. (and we are all at fault, many people are still displaced by the Tsunami, and countless other tragedies world wide) This task can be extremely sad and depressing and for most people it is easier to turn away and deny their feelings regarding such loss. With the advance in technologies, our lives are moving at such a fast pace that we hardly have a moment to reflect on what has actually happened, unless we experience it ourselves. Globally, thousands of souls are lost due to disease, destruction, violence and natural disasters. Be steadfast in Christ. Be deligent in awaiting His return. For that day will come like a theif in the night and He will deliver this world from the destruction happening all around us. He calls out to you in such times to humble yourselves before him. Call upon him and he will answer. Turn your hearts to Christ and his blessings will pour out; like a cup runneth over. Our Faith. our souls, our world rests in Him.

It is apparent that you have no compassion Bernie. The people of this state have done more to help themselves than those in surrounding states. Have you been here? Have you seen the devastation first hand? Mississippi has had to do for themselves because the whole world seems focused on New Orleans. Before you run your mouth about what you do not know perhaps you should visit. Or perhaps you should come and help with the rebuilding. On second thought the people of Mississippi don't need people like you. We can and will take care of our own.

Mr.Bryant has the right idea, just maybe the wrong wording. You should not rely on the gov. Believe
me I know. Iam from Pensacola, Fl. And we will
feel bad for any person
that has to go threw something like this.

I disagree with Mr. Bryant from Ft. Worth, TX. The survivors of Hurricane Katrina have been through a devestating ordeal. I believe the majority of the "affected", including all those at local and state government positions, have some level of "Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder". I cannot fathom anyone who has lost so much and been through this amount of pain and anguish, not have mental and emotional scars barring them from moving from the "before-and- after-Katrina-life", so soon. At least give them time to heal a little more and move gradually into a more "normal" and functioning presence in society.

I believe the government, especially the Homeland Security Administration, owes the survivors MUCH, MUCH MORE!

Mr. Bryant, I say this on behalf of all the Texans, like myself, whom you just maligned with your ill informed tirade. YOU OUGHT TO BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF! I spent 7 days in Waveland rebuilding a playground at their elementary school in early January and I can tell you that these people have more dignity and grit than any I have ever encountered in my life. I can also tell you that despite the fact that many of their jobs are gone, their homes are gone, they have lost loved ones, friends, pets, and anything recognizable in their hometown, they still get up every single day and do what they can to make a difference wherever they can. They are genuinely appreciative of the efforts made on their behalf by those both near and far.
When you hear someone say, "you can't believe it unless you see it". That is the God's honest truth. Even the word devastated does not begin to describe what Katrina did to Waveland. Leveled, wiped clean, decimated are more appropriate. Imagine standing in one spot where you can turn 360 degrees and not see anything that remotely resembles what was once a structure... nothing. That would be Waveland. FEMA - never saw them. Red Cross - never saw them. Salvation Army - never saw them either. They may have been there, but what I did see is a lot of good hearted people who had taken the time out of their lives to help their fellow American in need. Not because they were paid for it, not because the government sent them, just because they cared enough to reach out.
Furthermore, I never saw even one person while I was there just sitting around doing nothing. NOT ONE! Everybody is working their tails off to help return to some level of normalcy. Many are working their jobs during the day and returning home to work on their homes at night and on the weekends. The level of effort is staggering and the logistics are more than most people have ever encountered in a lifetime much less the last 4 months.
Well Mr. Tin Man, I hope that others do not see your sad commentary as an endorsement of the citizens from Great State of Texas but rather the pathetic rantings of one single insensitive individual. I find your level of compassion completely underwhelming! Texans have and will continue to have a heart. I am living proof!

For the last 2 summers, my husband and some of our friends vacationed with my sister, in Ocean Springs MS. We have come to love the coast and were horrified at what we saw on the news shortly after the hurricane. My sister kept saying "you really can't appreciate the full scope of the devastation until you see it in person". We surprised her with a visit over Christmas and she was right. It is hard to put into words what we saw - FEMA trailers next to empty lots, people's belongings (5 months after the disaster!) still hanging in trees or along the road, whole communities just GONE!! But everywhere we went, we saw clear evidence of people struggling to get back to any semblance of "normal". Bernie should get off his high Texan horse and credit these people with the courage and sheer grit it has taken to get them where they are today - all, I might add, in the face of slow-moving government "assistance" and down-right piracy of the insurance companies. Shame on you, Bernie for being so short-sighted and hard-hearted!

Bernie, I think I know the people you are referring to. I agree, If you only had a minimm wage paying job, rented a one bedroom apt. and used the transit system to get around, get out of there and get on with your life. You only see TV the people who want hand-outs, not the people who NEED them.

Are you kidding me? How bleeding ignorant and ill-informed can one person be? I can only hope that all your fellow Texans are not so lacking in compassion Mr. Bryant. One day you may need some relief from a tragedy and let's just see how your ignorant opinion will be changed.

I was in Bay Port Miss. two weeks after the storm with a church group and I can tell you that even with Government help these people have a long way to go.The distruction was worse than bombing runs I saw in Viet Nam.I plan to go back shortly to see what I can do again and I encourage any one who thinks differently to go see for your self,don't forget to take a picture of your undamaged home with you to compare.

Mr Bryant, How dare you come here and make such comments. You should be ashamed my friend.
I live in a little town that was devistated.
Bayou la Batre Alabama. I have lived on the Gulf Coast all my life and these hurricanes are a fact of life that goes with living here. People come together and help each other out, and if other people feel compelled to help, they will.
Its cold hearted people like you, sir that you should beg the lord for forgiveness.
Be ashamed sir, be ashamed.

Mr. Bryant,
I live in Gulfport, MS. The day after Labor Day I was at work. I am a widow,dealing with all this has been mind boggling!FEMA gave me nothing, the Red Cross gave me nothing, I did get food stamps. I still have debris in my yard that is supposed to be picked up. But you know, I'm blessed-I have my home and have not had as much trouble with my insurance as some. DO NOT lump the people of MS with the whiners from New Orleans. We have persevered and will rebuild. We are not asking for sympathy. How would you like to ride out 200 MPH winds with your wife and 3 children in a boat? One family I met did-they were happy they were here still and trying to put their lives back--no home, no FEMA trailer, just trying to rebuild their home and lives. As they say in the south- come on down--we'll give you humble pie to eat!

Bernie, you have absolutely NO idea what you are babbling about! I have many friends in Bay St. Louis and I have been there 3 times since the hurricane. I would like to know what are these plentiful jobs that you speak of? You don't comprehend that there is nothing there but piles of rubble. The people of that area are dealing with something that very few in this country have ever had to deal with.
I'm from Texas and I have to say that I'm a lot prouder of the Bay St. Louis & Waveland residents than I am of anyone in Texas that feels the way you do. Those people don't deserve what you said. Bert is correct sir, you should be very ashamed!!

I feel truly saddened by the plight of the hurricane survivors. I also feel a tinge of compassion with Bernie, especially after seeing the diet of dispair fed to us daily from the media and hearing the whine from the folks that have been fed hand to mouth all of their lives. I do become infuriated at the lack of gumption these folks have - that is my human nature. HOWEVER, as part of a giving group from a Southern Baptist Church, I have been witness to the outpouring of hands on help from the Christian community. Many hours have been spent in shoveling debris, sawing trees, and cleaning up the trash in many areas of the destroyed communities. Fortunately, this is done out of love and not for money from any branch of government. What I have seen is a genuine gratitude from those whose lives have been impacted by the volunteers' willingness to give freely of themselves. They have sacrificed their time and money to make a difference and it is appreciated. What I have also seen is the lack of leadership at the local and state government levels. Why is no one taking charge of this mess? Dollars are flowing like the flood waters into black holes of greed. If someone with authority does not make a stand and take over, the money will be gone and the destruction will remain. Let us pray that the Lord will raise up someone to stand in the gap and finish (begin)this task. Let us also pray that someone will find a way to encourage those who are unwilling to make an effort to begin to pull themselves out of this mess. The addage "God helps those who help themselves" is untrue. God helps us all - especially the weak - he helps us to be strong..

Wowsers... just lemme say one thing... I'm 17... i go to school in Missouri... and in my school flooded many many hurricane victims and seeing the lifeless faces that were in front of me... the children who basically had no say of where they went and what they do is horrifying... I for one do feel the deepest of sympathy...the closet thing i have lost to mother nature is almost my house..but my horse barn...due to a stupid tornado that ripped thru my small village.. honestly... Mr.Fort Worth Dude... you need to look at the big picture... would you want the government to help you if fort worth was totally demolished by a tornado... or a fire...or idk.. something big... i know i would... i couldn't do it on my own... and i know that people are tired of the government using their money to fix their fault..but that still is no reason to say don't give these people sympathy...cuz they need all the love and support they can get.. and if thats a smile..then give em a smile... and if thats a job..by Golly...give em a job...it's not easy rebuilding your whole life...especially in a town where there's nothing left to rebuild... so before you go on blabbering about how we need to let people loose... thing about what foundation they have to stand on...and right now thats nothing...

There has been a lot of money miss handled during the wake of katrina. People continue to place blame on the victim of this storm. It is being said that the money is dwindling fast. The goverment should have given these people hypotically hundreds of thousands a piece and allowed the people to held responsible, governed and screened carefully, before giving out the money. They should have been allowed to manage their own cleanup and relocation if they had wanted. They could have rebuilded their own home. Instead, they put alot of money grubbers in the wrong place and now the money is in the hands and homes of the caregivers that is suppose to be finning for the victims. They should have allowed the people to think for themselves and be held accountable if the money was not put to good use. Now the money is just about gone and who should we blame, certainly not the REFUGEES!!!!!!!

BERNIE IS FROM TEXAS! what else is there to say. I once lived in the great city of New Orleans and frequented Bay St.Louis and Waveland on weekend rides with my wife. It was a lovely place to watch the sea and enjoy the gulf way of life. To see what has happened is impossible to imagine..I often run through my old slides and can only remember. I can only say not being there after the hurricane that the memories I have of those wonderful people and the exquisite architecture of the verandas and porches facing the gulf can never be replaced. Bernie belongs to a mean spirited league of what these "United" States have become. From what I see posted here there still is hope for a united community of folks helping folks. Is this the America I know? I hope so.

Bernie you are a loner in a lone star state. Perhaps you can take back the "compassionate" conservative who cares so little about what is going on.

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