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

A year and a day

Posted: Thursday, August 31 at 10:31 am CT by

Well, it's been a year and a day since I was in my house.

These were the words I heard my father-in-law say last night over dinner. I guess I really hadn't thought of that before. (I find it interesting that in New Orleans' above ground cemeteries one occupies the space for a year and a day, and then one's bones are shoved on over to make room for the next "renter.") So, I've spent the last year homeless in a sense. True, there are far worse ways to spend a year than living in a pretty nice travel trailer, and things were way better for us than for lots of folks.

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'We made it'

Posted: Wednesday, August 30 at 07:14 pm CT by

Citizen_diary_perkins_06083

Progress continues on Mary Perkins’ new home. Photo courtesy of Mary Perkins

We made it!!

Somehow, we made it through the first year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. I woke up that morning crying, not knowing why. Then I attended a morning memorial service on the beach in Waveland. Then I knew why. As Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo read the names of those who lost their lives in the storm, all attending were in tears. Then Connie Heitzmann sang "On Eagles Wings." It was so beautiful we could hardly contain ourselves as we thought of those who died in the storm. And then they placed a wreath on the water's edge on the sand in memory of those people, while a man played "Oh Danny Boy" on the harmonica. It was a truly moving experience.

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And the band played on

Posted: Tuesday, August 29 at 06:22 pm CT by

WAVELAND, Miss. -- It seemed so odd, the baton twirlers twirling, the marching band tuning up, all in the front parking lot of the half-collapsed Waveland Civic and Cultural Center.

But to high school saxophone player Zach Salter, it was just another day in Waveland.

"It's just natural now," he said. "It's part of everyday life."

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On anniversary, a new home

Posted: Tuesday, August 29 at 02:11 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS -- Evelyn Wells didn't have time to attend Katrina anniversary services Tuesday. She was busy hammering the last few nails into her brand new home.

One week ago, she was living in a FEMA trailer with no idea when she'd get out. Then Habitat for Humanity called.

About 24 hours ago, her future home wasn't much more than a concrete slab. But by nightfall Monday, the walls were up. By Tuesday morning the crew of 40 volunteers was already setting to work on the roof, while Wells helped put the finishing touches on the porch.

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For victims, the bell tolls

Posted: Tuesday, August 29 at 12:42 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS -- Tuesday dawned still and silent on the beach: The waters of the bay lapped the shore ever so gently and the quiet was sullied only barely by the sounds of massive sifting machines in the distance clearing the sand of storm debris. The peaceful morning on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina offered the starkest of contrasts to last year's calamity.

Piercing the silence at 9 a.m. came the sound of the Christ Episcopal Church bell, rung by parishioners to mark the anniversary of the terrible storm. The congregation took turns pulling the bell cord, tolling it 58 times in remembrance of each of the deaths in the area. Then they all rang it three more times, in honor of the Christian church's Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

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A year later, volunteers shine

Posted: Tuesday, August 29 at 04:00 am CT by

If there is a positive to be found amid the devastation inflicted on Bay St. Louis, Waveland and Hancock County by Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge it can be found in another type of torrent – the vast river of volunteers that in one year has helped lift these shattered Mississippi coastal communities from the depths of despair.


Almost since Day One, they have arrived all along the Gulf Coast in vast numbers by bus, truck, motorcycle and car and leaped into action with nary a word of complaint about the filthy, back-breaking work. Especially in the early days, many slept in tents and endured relentless heat, humidity and nasty bugs for the privilege of assisting their countrymen.

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The tax man cometh

Posted: Monday, August 28 at 03:45 pm CT by

WAVELAND, Miss. -- The taxman cometh.

He arrived bright and early Monday morning -- the eve of the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina -- in the form of an auction in which residents in Mississippi’s Hancock County who hadn't paid their property taxes found their land up for sale the highest bidder.

CONTINUED »

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'Beautiful' debris

Posted: Sunday, August 27 at 11:05 pm CT by

You've heard of making lemonade from lemons, but making art from rubble? To see that, you have to go to the Gulf Coast.

As Katrina anniversary week begins here, the twin towns of Bay St. Louis and Waveland are hosting a mixture of memorial services and festivals to mark the occasion. The celebration side of things kicked off with a different kind of art show Sunday night. There were oil paintings, watercolors and music, but most compelling were pieces called "found objects/storm debris."

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See the progress for yourself

Posted: Sunday, August 27 at 11:05 pm CT by

A year after Hurricane Katrina made a serious attempt to erase the towns of Bay St. Louis and Waveland, Miss., much has been accomplished. Look at these images to see the progress for yourself, as well as how much remains to be done.

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Schools study subtraction

Posted: Sunday, August 27 at 11:01 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – School is back in session and Superintendent Kim Stasny is getting a workout on subtraction and negative integers.

The remedial math lesson comes courtesy of Hurricane Katrina, which left the Bay St. Louis-Waveland School District’s finances in a shambles.

CONTINUED »

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August 31, 2008 - September 6, 2008
August 24, 2008 - August 30, 2008
March 16, 2008 - March 22, 2008
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December 25, 2005 - December 31, 2005
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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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