What is this?

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.

How you can help


Get the latest stories, journal entries and images via RSS subscription.

Mary Perkins can see the "light at the end of the tunnel" as volunteers near completion of her new home in Bay St. Louis.

Courtesy of Mary Perkins

On Tuesday, Aug. 29, we will mark the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. It seems almost surreal that it has been a year. So much has happened, and so much has not happened. The desolate seven miles of beach in Hancock County is still the same. Oh, yeah, it's pretty much cleaned up, but the slabs are really all that's there.

Here, we are planning many activities to commemorate the anniversary of Katrina. We will remember those we lost that morning at 9:00 a.m. when there is a moment of silence, and then all the sirens and church bells left will ring across the county. Remember us on Aug. 29 at 9:00 a.m. CDT please. Remember us for those who died. And remember us for those that are living, trying to get their lives back together and move on to bigger and better things.

Don't forget us because one year has passed and we SHOULD be OK. Because we are not OK. We have a long road to go yet. And we need the country to remember us. Remember that Hancock County was the hardest hit by Katrina. Not New Orleans. New Orleans was a manmade disaster with the levees that happened after Katrina hit. We were hit by Katrina and in the worst way.

Yes, there will be celebrations across the county on Katrina's anniversary. In fact, there have been activities each week during the month of August. We do not want to sit around and mope and cry because Katrina hit one year ago. We want to celebrate our spirit, our dreams for the future and our lives. Join with us in our celebrations. We also want to remember and honor those hundreds and thousands of volunteers who have come down here and given their precious time, energy and money to assist us in the rebuilding of our homes, our lives and our towns. Without you, we would not be as far along as we are right now today. What a wonderful thing you have done for us, and we are most grateful.

Now, to a lighter note -- my house. The attached photo shows you how far along my house has come in five short weeks. We are now in the process of beginning the mechanical and electrical work, along with the second phase of plumbing. My heart is overwhelmed at the work the volunteers from Lagniappe Church have done in such a short period of time. There is light at the end of the tunnel for me, and it is really a wonderful feeling to know that the puppy dog (Pokey), the kitty cat (Freeway) and I will have a place to call home soon.

Even though MSNBC will not be covering the growth here as often in the months to come, I will still be posting blogs to you, so look for them.

MAIN PAGE NEXT POST Katrina's tough lessons

Email this EMAIL THIS


Mary, thanks for your faith. Just found your story today. Our church has sent groups on six different times and we are coming back Sept.25 for another week with Samaritan's Purse out of Kiln, Ms. I have been blessed to come on each trip and have made friends with some of the strongest people on God's planet...just like you. THANK YOU FOR LETTING US HELP! It has been a great blessing1

Mary, I enjoy hearing the updates from you and have thought of you often since being there in early August and meeting you and your neighbor Bill. It was truly a blessing to meet you both and to hear the stories you had to share. A copy of The Great Deluge which you told me about came in today at the library for me. I just picked it up and am getting ready to start reading it.
Our prayers continue to be with you and I look forward to seeing a completed picture of your home.

My husband, daughter and I were in Bay St. Louis in July visiting my Dad & Step mom. Not much had changed since we were there right after Katrina hit other than the debre has been cleaned up. My dad says he will never live to see the day when the town is back to the way it was and its sad because I know he is right. But its still a great town and now they are finally getting some work done on their house.I know they will be glad to get back into the house and out of that FEMA trailer. I know it has to be hard for those people to live in such small quarters. People of that area have a drive and will survive and will rebuild. I love Bay St. Louis and one day we would love to retire there.

l am sharıng your feelıngs. l dıdn't forget them .we ımportance gıve more people over there......l wıll follow your wrıtıngs....from turkey greets hot.....byee

This is my first time visiting the site, and I am so happy that I finally can say something to someone who was affected by this disaster. My heart and prayers go out to you and Pokey and freeway. I am 30 years old married with two children. Katrina has changed my whole way of living life. The day after Katrina hit I came to work crying like I have never cried. I felt so helpless and until this day I wish that I could have done more to help. My sisters and I made our donations not only for human life but for animals. I remember the sites on t.v. and my tears just would not stop, my heart hurt like never before. NOW, to see your site and to know that you have been able to move on, gives my heart a little peace. STILL one year later, I cry and cry. I hug my children and husband and tell them how much I love them. People like you Mary make people like me, realize that there is hope. I can't wait to see your home all pretty and finished. Will you please show a picture of your pets once more?
God bless YOU always!

my heart and prayers go out to all the families that lost loved ones and those who lost homes and my god lift thier sprits up and keep them .after all the help we got when we are self had a disasters are self here in oklahoma .i cried when i saw all those pictuers on tv .and all those people who had lost every thing they had .still one year later i cry every once in a while. i hug my son and mom and thank god thier sitll here .katrina has changed my whole life .i wish i could have help all those poeple i saw on tv i would give the shirt off my back to them .
god bless you and keep you and keep your sprits up

Hey, Lorena. Freeway is a proper name spell it with a capitol "F"....dangitt.

To all - I was living in Biloxi, MS up until 28 August 2005, approx 3pm. Me and my two boys packed hoped in our car and left. We loved the Gulf Coast, our hearts and prayers go out to many who loved the area also. We miss Nativity and so much more. It was a tough decision to leave, but with family from California, Texas, and Alabama calling we just had to go and thank God for that. We ended up in Fort Walton Beach which took 10 hours hunting for a vacant hotel. There we stayed for 10 days and I decided to fill up one day and off to Georgia we went. We returned to the Gulf in Oct 05 and with tears and sadness packed what we could in a U-Haul and returned to Georgia. Things have never been better for us here in Georgia. It took a lot of crying nights, months of sadness, trying to adjust, thinking and missing friends left behind. It still bothers us to watch or see the devastation and sadness. God Bless and believe this it can only get better with hope and prayer.


I worked on the Hurricane Hotline for Allstate Insurance during the hurricanes.

My heart goes out to each and every person affected by the storms. I spoke with so very many people who were hurting and confused. The insurance companies did a very poor job of helping and dealing with FEMA was another nightmare that our government should be extremely ashamed of. Most everyone thought they had insurance and at least some of their losses could be fixed, but the majority of the time that was just not the case.

I tried my best to be as helpful to everyone I talked to, but I always felt it was really not much help at all. I lived in MS for 4 years and made wonderful friends there. Although I now live in Arizona, a good size part of my heart is still in MS and with the very good people there who took me in and treated me like family while I was there.

It is impossible to understand what any of you have gone through, but there is a good thing and that is that you are all still there and fighting a good fight.

None of you will ever be forgotten in our hearts and we are very proud of each and every one of you. May God's blessing be upon all of you.

Connie Moore, I 'm not sure it a good thing to give your name....If I worked for insurance....I would be NAMELESS!..."like a theif in the night"....May God's blessing be upon you also....if you stop that "dispicaple" trade!

Comments for this post have been closed.


Trackbacks are links to weblogs that reference this post. Like comments, trackbacks do no appear until approved by us. The trackback URL for this post is: http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b0aa69e200d834e4c59e69e2

More Rising from Ruin

Story tips?