Above:A 360-degree photo shows a rusted boat and other wreckage at Bayou Caddy, a port west of Waveland. (John Brecher / MSNBC.com)

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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.

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Gulf Coast homeowners: Don't Call Henry

Posted: Friday, March 21 at 01:48 pm CT by

Of the dozens of building contractors punished by the state of Mississippi for preying on victims of Hurricane Katrina, one stands out from the crowd of mostly small-time, fly-by-night operators: Call Henry, a Florida-based firm with hundreds of employees that each year earns tens of millions of dollars from contracts with the Department of Defense, NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency.

The company boasts on its Web site about its rosy prospects for new federal business. But at the same time, it has closed up shop in the hurricane zone and is ignoring customers there who say that their homes are falling apart after Call Henry repaired or rebuilt them. The state Attorney General's Office is considering launching a criminal investigation against the firm. And the company is appealing a $10,000 fine that the Mississippi State Board of Contractors levied after finding that Call Henry exhibited “gross negligence or misconduct” in its contracting business.

“They shafted people right and left,” said a sobbing Mary Bobbitt of Waveland, Miss., who hired Call Henry to fix her three-bedroom, one-bath ranch-style home after it was inundated by Katrina’s deadly flood tide. “They came in from Florida thinking they could make a whole bunch of money and then they left. They just left us.”

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