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

Steps forward (and more joy!)

Posted: Friday, February 3 at 07:31 pm CT by

I must admit that living in the midst of this disaster reconstruction takes a toll on your outlook. It's hard to maintain a positive outlook, and I'm sure that many of the readers of these weblogs will forgive all of us "citizen journalists" if, from time to time, our spirits sag. Seeing your beloved town and surrounding community reduced to piles of rubble is a feeling that few humans can relate to (those from Hiroshima, Dresden, Afghanistan and Pompeii notwithstanding.)

However, even as we struggle on, we find things to feel joyful about, and many of them come all at once. Case in point: the past few days for Heather and myself.

CONTINUED »

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Five months later: Hopeful signs

Posted: Friday, February 3 at 06:43 pm CT by

Five months after Hurricane Katrina pounded the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it’s possible to look down some streets in Bay St. Louis and Waveland and not see obvious signs of disaster. But on many others, the wreckage is still piled high and officials in both cities and in Hancock County acknowledge they have a long way to go before the rebuilding process hits full stride.

Debris removal has become a contentious issue all along the Gulf Coast, with the U.S. Army Corps and its politically well-connected contractor AshBritt taking a lot of heat from residents and city officials over the pace at which the cleanup is progressing. And many contractors who rushed to the area hoping to participate in the garbage Gold Rush charge that AshBritt is favoring certain out-of-state crews at their expense.

CONTINUED »

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Da train, boss! Da train!

Posted: Thursday, February 2 at 03:47 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – Never has the forlorn moan of a freight train’s horn sounded so good.

Thanks to an amazingly quick response by workers and contractors for CSX railroad, trains are again rolling along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, testing repairs to more than 40 miles of its Gulf Coast line badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

CONTINUED »

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Changing the face of crime

Posted: Wednesday, February 1 at 08:26 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – Hurricane Katrina didn’t merely toss the lives of law-abiding Gulf Coast citizens into chaos, it disrupted the routines of criminals in ways that law enforcement officials and criminologists are still struggling to understand.

Like the currents and eddies of the storm’s devastating surge -- which at times left one home standing while flattening another next door -- Katrina’s impact on crime rates has been both fickle and hard to quantify.

CONTINUED »

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Bright spot in animal tragedy?

Posted: Tuesday, January 31 at 08:45 am CT by

WAVELAND, Miss. – They were some of Hurricane Katrina’s smallest and most helpless victims, alerted to the power of the storm long before most people but unable to flee on their own.

The Aug. 29 storm and its aftermath proved deadly for the inhabitants of the Waveland Animal Shelter, the only such facility in Hancock County, as well as heart-breaking for many pet owners. Director Renee Lick said most of the animals in the shelter at the time of the storm died, but declined to provide an exact figure.

CONTINUED »

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A beacon of hope in Waveland

Posted: Sunday, January 29 at 08:52 pm CT by

WAVELAND, Miss. -- For residents in the bombed-out southern half of Waveland, the rapidly rising home of Jeff and Rose Watts is a beacon of hope and a promise of better times ahead.

The couple, who live on Waveland Avenue, were the first residents to obtain a permit to rebuild a demolished two-story house south of the railroad tracks that bisect the city. And with work progressing rapidly thanks to a team of volunteers from an Old German Baptist Brethren church in Ohio, they are hopeful they will be able to move into their home within a month.

CONTINUED »

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Dust flies over Katrina's debris

Posted: Sunday, January 29 at 06:02 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – Ostensible allies in the effort to remove the still-huge piles of debris left behind by Hurricane Katrina are engaged in an increasingly bitter conflict over the progress of the cleanup and the way it is being run.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its politically connected prime contractor AshBritt, which is overseeing the federal cleanup in most of Mississippi and parts of Louisiana, are in the middle of the fracas. In the wake of the Aug. 29 hurricane – the most destructive in U.S. history -- they have been fending off angry attacks as varied as the wreckage itself – a thick blanket of toppled trees, boards, bricks, shards of glass, wire, clothing and household items that still covers large parts of hard-hit communities along the Gulf Coast.

CONTINUED »

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Art Share: Mary Gray's brainstorm

Posted: Sunday, January 29 at 05:30 pm CT by

Mary Gray is a force of nature.

She has single-handedly mobilized an entire community, convincing her home town of Wayzata, Minn., to adopt Bay St. Louis, Miss., as a sister-city.

CONTINUED »

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Katrina still plundering local coffers

Posted: Sunday, January 29 at 04:13 pm CT by

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. – Five months after Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, the hurricane continues to plunder the coffers of local governments.

“The county’s fiscal health is very fragile right now,” said Hancock County Administrator Tim Kellar. “I don’t want to call it a critical position” but it’s “certainly not a stable position.”

Since Katrina struck Aug. 29, Kellar, along with Bay St. Louis Mayor Eddie Favre and Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo, have cobbled together reserves, loans, state and federal grants, and outright gifts to keep their municipalities afloat.

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
December 31, 2006 - January 6, 2007
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November 12, 2006 - November 18, 2006
November 5, 2006 - November 11, 2006
October 29, 2006 - November 4, 2006
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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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