What is this?

Rising from Ruin is an on-going MSNBC.com special report chronicling two coastal Mississippi towns, Bay St. Louis and Waveland, as they rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.

Map of Southeaster United States

This project is evolving. Our daily dispatches coverage has been retired. Click here to see what happened in the area between mid October and January 1, 2006.

Background on the towns and this project is available under the about tab above.

Click here for bios of the reporters and media producers who have worked on the series.

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Teams of MSNBC.com journalists will be rotated through the area to highlight different aspects of the towns’ recovery.

Meredith Birkett
Meredith Birkett, a senior multimedia producer, has been with MSNBC.com since 2000, producing the site’s in-depth multimedia projects, including award-winning productions such as “The Year in Pictures,” “Aging in America,” and a series on injured U.S. soldiers returning from the conflict in Iraq. Before joining MSNBC.com, Birkett worked for the Seattle Times, the American Medical News and the Albuquerque Tribune. Birkett graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

John Brecher
Media editor John Brecher joined MSNBC.com in 2006 after initially working on the Rising from Ruin project as a freelancer. In 2002, he followed Olympic Torch Relay across the United States for MSNBC.com. He previously worked as a photographer for the Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner and the Jackson Hole (Wyo.) News.

David Friedman
David Friedman, 36, is a multimedia producer for MSNBC.com and has been with the company since 2003. His previous assignments have included covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005, the New Hampshire Democratic primary in 2004 and Islam in Europe 2006. He previously worked as a staff and freelance photographer with numerous newspapers and photo agencies.

Mike Brunker
Projects Team Editor Mike Brunker has worked for MSNBC.com since 1996. Before assuming his current duties, he worked as West Coast news editor, overseeing production of the site’s cover and news sections and as a reporter specializing in Internet issues. Before joining MSNBC, Brunker worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 15 years.

James Cheng
James Cheng has been a multimedia producer at MSNBC.com since its inception in 1996. He has been involved with a variety of projects at MSNBC.com, including the summer Olympic games of 1996, the reunification of Hong Kong to China, the economic crisis in Asia in 1998, the 125th anniversary of Yellowstone and the 20th anniversary of the Mount St. Helens explosion.

Kari Huus
Kari Huus has been a reporter for nearly two decades. For MSNBC.com she has covered a wide range of international events and issues. Before coming to MSNBC.com at launch in 1996, she lived in Beijing and Hong Kong for nearly eight years, reporting on China for Newsweek and the Far Eastern Economic Review. Huus was on one of the earlier reporting trips to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Alex Johnson
Alex Johnson covers politics and other topics for MSNBC.com. He has been a writer and editor for The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, the Knight-Ridder/Tribune Washington service and The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, among other publications. A native Southerner, he is a graduate of the University of Georgia.

Miguel Llanos
Miguel Llanos is MSNBC.com's environmental editor. An MSNBC.com writer/editor since the Web site's launch in 1996, he previously was special projects editor at the Seattle Times and a correspondent in Argentina for The Times of London and other publications. He has a master’s degree in international journalism from the University of Southern California, and a bachelor’s in economics and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. He is based in MSNBC.com's Redmond, Wash., newsroom.

Brock N. Meeks
Brock N. Meeks was MSNBC.com's Washington correspondent from 1997-2006. Before joining MSNBC.com he worked at Wired magazine. He’s also worked as a foreign correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle and freelanced for newspapers, magazines and online media for more than 15 years.

Sean Federico-O'Murchu
East Coast News Editor Sean Federico-O'Murchu has worked at MSNBC.com since 2000. He's been a journalist for 20 years, working previously for Agence France-Presse, Bridge Financial News, The New York Post and a number of Irish and Irish-American publications.

Jim Ray
Jim Ray is an editorial concepts editor for MSNBC.com, where he has worked since January, 2004. He has also worked as a multimedia producer for the Chicago Tribune and holds a degree in interactive journalism from the University of North Carolina.

Jim Seida
Multimedia producer Jim Seida has been with MSNBC since its inception in 1996. In addition to other assignments, he covered the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in September, traveled the length of the Mississippi River last year and documented the journey of the Olympic torch on its way to the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

Dan Strieff
Dan Strieff is an MSNBC.com producer and editor based in London. He is a former editor for the British education Web site Schoolsnet.com and a graduate of the University of Oregon. He is currently a Master’s candidate in the history of international relations at the London School of Economics.

Mike Stuckey
Mike Stuckey was a member of the MSNBC.com launch team and has been a producer and editor for the Web site since 1997. Previously, he worked for more than 25 years at California newspapers from Healdsburg to Salinas.

Bob Sullivan
Bob Sullivan is MSNBC’s technology correspondent, specializing in computer crime, privacy, and identity theft. His consumer advocacy blog, the Red Tape Chronicles, exposes corporate sneakiness and government waste from a techy point of view. He is also author of Your Evil Twin: Behind the Identity Theft Epidemic, and is currently working on a second book tentatively titled “Gotcha Capitalism.”

Ashley Wells
Ashley Wells is MSNBC.com’s creative director. Before joining MSNBC in 1999, Wells worked in Los Angeles as a broadcast news writer and producer and freelance multimedia designer.

Marty Wolk
Marty Wolk is MSNBC.com's business editor. Prior to joining MSNBC.com in 1999 as a business reporter, he was a senior correspondent for Reuters and a reporter and editor for daily newspapers in Ohio and North Carolina. In 2004, he won a Jefferson Fellowship to travel in Asia through the East-West Center in Honolulu. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, he has been based in Seattle since 1993.


Residents of Bay St. Louis and Waveland are keeping personal diaries to share their observations about the recovery of their home towns.

Hannah Anderson
Hi my name is Hannah Anderson I am 14 years old and have lived in Mississippi for almost my whole life. I go to Our Lady Academy and am in the eighth grade. I want to go to Yale and be an actress when I grow up. I do ballet and I run. I also love to shop!

Noah Anderson
I'm Noah Anderson, I'm 11 years old, I live in Bay Saint Louis, MS. I'm the son of two architects and I have two sisters, Hannah, who is older, and Sarah, who is younger.

Patti Hannah
Patti Hannah, Bay St. Louis, 46, is handcuffed to the heart of a wonderful man, Sgt. Richard Hannah with the Bay St. Louis Police Department, and is mother to a beautiful daughter, Darcy Schlosser Hannah. Toughest profession of all, she is an ex-police officer, married to a police officer and mother to a senior at Bay Senior High. She is a member of the Hancock County Republican Executive Committee and Secretary for the Hancock County Republican Club. Born and raised in Salem, Ohio, she moved to the beautiful city Bay St. Louis and has lived here and called it home for the past 25 years.

Heather Harper
Heather Harper teaches Language Arts, Local Culture, and Theatre at Hancock Middle School. She is also a singer and performs with her husband, Steve, in the jazzabilly group "Heather and the Monkey King" in New Orleans and along the coast. Heather was born in Mississippi, grew up in Mobile, lived in New Orleans for two years, and moved to Waveland in May of 2004.

Steve Harper
Steve Harper, along with his wife, Heather, has led a double life for years as a teacher by day and jazz singer by night. He teaches fine arts at Gulfview and Charles B. Murphy Elementary, both of which were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. He performs in the jazzabilly band "Heather and the Monkey King" in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast.

Gwen Impson
Gwen Impson is president of The Arts Hancock County Mississippi and is an artist/printmaker/instructor with the only non-toxic printmaking studio on the Gulf Coast. She and her husband lived on the most beautiful street in Waveland until Hurricane Katrina and are now living in a travel trailer in a friend's driveway while planning their new home.

Mary Perkins
Mary Perkins is the Public Affairs/Development Officer for the Hancock County Library System. She has been with the Library System since 1993. Perkins serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Hancock County Chamber of Commerce; member, Association of Fundraising Professionals; member, Public Relations Society of America, Gulf Coast Chapter; and member, Mississippi Library Commission.

Maria Russell
Maria and Dave Russell discovered the bay just last year, but knew it was where they wanted to live. After cruising and living aboard a 42' trawler for most of the past 15 years, they finally found home. Now living in a FEMA trailer on their slab, they are anxious to plan their future here, but are unsure about the next step, never having had the experience of building a house of their own. Still, in spite of the destruction and devastation, they couldn't think of anywhere else they'd rather live.

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