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.
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.
When the state called and notified me that the president of the United States was coming down to the coast and they asked me to drive one of the vehicles in the presidential motorcade, my stomach did immediate flip-flops. Honor? Absolutely! A huge responsibility? I don’t think there is a word that fits the answer I have for that one.
Security clearance wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I was only thrown into a secure and padded confinement room for two days and interrogated by Secret Service agents for hours on end. OK, I’m kidding! In reality, receiving clearance was painless and was easier than I thought it would be other than the images and thoughts of what was transpiring on the other end of that security clearance check.
The president of the United States came to our school today. It was very exciting. Especially since we had snipers on the roof! I'll start my story from the begining.
On Tuesday, I was at ballet and my friend said that President Bush was comming to OLA/SSC on Thursday. I thought OK, that is cool, but will we get to see him? My family is Democratic but I still think it would be really cool to meet him.
It has been sometime since I have written a blog. The daily life of an aftermath of a disaster threw this family a few unexpected curve balls that didn’t leave me much time to do anything but to refocus and get back on track with survival mode.
The holidays, well, it was better than I thought it would be considering the circumstances of celebrating a holiday homeless and in a FEMA trailer in a park. You haven’t lived until you try duct taping Christmas lights to a trailer and getting them to stick!
Hug! Hug! "How are you? How did you fare? It's so good to see you! How much water did you have? How's your house? What are you going to do?"
I know "Take it one day at a time!" That's the greetings you hear all across Bay St. Louis and Waveland wherever you go. You see people you know, some you've known all your life, and the greetings are the same.
Day by day the personal loss of possessions seems to get easier, both for myself and Heather. To quote Tom Waits "Memory's like a train, you can see it getting smaller as it pulls away, til the things you can't forget, and history puts a saint in every dream."
Since Heather and I lost our entire house and EVERYTHING in it (we've found 2 or 3 items, but not much), it has been a challenge to deal with the loss of "things" and especially mementos and keepsakes. At first I likened it to a mine field, where one walks along unsuspectingly and sees something to remind them of (fill in object lost) and then -- wham-o!!! -- just like a kick to the heart, the pain of loss would hit.