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

The dangers that lurk beneath

Posted: Thursday, May 4 at 11:00 am CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – The water is fine but do NOT come on in.

That’s the word from scientists charged with checking water quality both before and after Hurricane Katrina along Hancock County’s Gulf Coast beaches. And county officials agree with that advice even though the beaches are not officially closed.

Frequent tests at numerous coast checkpoints for months have shown that the water is as free of the most common contaminant that comes with the devastation of a giant hurricane – sewage – as it was before the storm. But the shallow ocean floor is far from free of the dangerous wreckage that Katrina’s surge washed into the gulf.

CONTINUED »

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Housing boom on the horizon

Posted: Wednesday, May 3 at 01:35 pm CT by

WAVELAND, Miss. – What so far has been spotty progress in replacing the thousands of dwellings wiped out across Hancock County by Hurricane Katrina appears poised to morph into the biggest residential construction boom the county has ever seen.

From single homes in Waveland being lovingly rebuilt by church volunteers, to north county subdivisions where dozens of houses will soon rise, “People are really starting to pick up the pace,” says Mickey Lagasse, the county’s chief building official. “I think we’re going to see a huge boom in construction in the next few years.”

CONTINUED »

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Amazing colors of spring

Posted: Tuesday, May 2 at 01:37 pm CT by

I know I've mentioned more than once about the lack of color in the landscape here. The storm stripped most of the green from the plants, and turned everything in sight the same sort of greyish-brown. This has bothered some people a lot more than me ... being colorblind a lot of things look that way to me already. (At this point I hear some folks saying "Wait a minute! Aren't you an artist?!?! How can you be colorblind?!!!" which of course has been the running joke of my life. First, tubes of paint have the colors written on them, and second, I don't think anyone should let a birth defect stand in the way of what they really want to do.) My neighbors and I have rejoiced at every new green leaf appearing on anything. Often, the green seems to take on a jewel-like intensity, mainly due to the lack of color around it. Recently, though, I was unexpectedly treated to a vast array of colors -- both literal and figurative -- as the New Old Time Chautauqua came to town.

CONTINUED »

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Dreams of homes coming true

Posted: Tuesday, May 2 at 09:00 am CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – A dream to help 1,000 families get into homes of their own in the wake of Katrina is quickly coming true throughout the hurricane zone.

“I am so excited, so happy,” says teacher Kimberly Martin of Bay St. Louis, whose young family, after losing two loved ones and most of its worldly possessions to the storm, will be one of the first to live the dream in Hancock County.

CONTINUED »

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Don't forget us

Posted: Monday, May 1 at 11:18 am CT by

It is eight months since Hurricane Katrina roared through my hometown and the rest of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It's hard to believe that it was that long ago, since much hasn't changed.

Today the puppy and I went for ride. The weather was getting bad, real windy. The water was washing up on the beach road, which it does when bad weather comes from the southeast. But it was so sad. The beach is just empty. The streets between the railroad tracks and the beach are just flat land. There are some trailers, and some are beginning to rebuild.

CONTINUED »

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Visible change, hidden pain

Posted: Sunday, April 30 at 09:59 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – It is a fitting season to ponder the comeback of Hancock County and the rest of the Gulf Coast, eight months after the late-summer nightmare of Katrina.

As nature’s rebirth summons new leaves, fresh grass, black gnats and Purple Martins, human enterprise sprouts from the hurricane-ravaged neighborhoods and commercial districts of Bay St. Louis, Waveland, Diamondhead and other areas.

CONTINUED »

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Psychological fallout hard to predict

Posted: Sunday, April 30 at 09:58 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – Like the swirling images of a nascent hurricane on a radar screen, the emotional and psychological fallout from Katrina is gathering across the region. But just as weather forecasters have difficulty saying where a storm will land and how much damage it will do, therapists say the long-term mental-health effects of last year’s killer storm also are hard to predict.

“The fact is that we don’t know a lot about the actual incidence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression associated with Katrina,” says Dr. Raymond Crowel, vice president for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services at the National Mental Health Association. “It’s probably useful to think of Katrina as a slow motion disaster that has continued to unfold for people.”

CONTINUED »

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'My religion, more or less'

Posted: Sunday, April 30 at 09:57 pm CT by

WAVELAND, Miss. -- Tony Trapani casts his line into the waters of Mississippi Sound with the ease of someone who's been finding and catching fish all his life.

“Growing up, me and my two brothers used to go fishing every single day,” he says, skillfully balancing in a 14-foot skiff about six miles offshore in the Pass Marianne channel. “It’s more spiritual to me than just catching fish. I look at (it) as my religion more or less.”

CONTINUED »

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Lights, camera, controversy!

Posted: Sunday, April 30 at 09:56 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – A drama is afoot here over this little hurricane-hit town’s dilapidated link to Hollywood and its best-known landmark to the outside world.

Just as in “This Property is Condemned,” the 1966 movie featuring Natalie Wood and Robert Redford that brought Bay St. Louis its 15 minutes of Silver Screen fame, there is passion, there is love and there is anger.

And there is concern that what happens here could be a preview of the fate of other historic properties in Katrina’s wake.

CONTINUED »

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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
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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

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