News / USA

Mississippi Coast Still Rebuilding 6 Years After Katrina

Slow, expensive process for area built on tourism and seafood industry

The newly built Biloxi Visitors Center overlooks the Gulf of Mexico.
The newly built Biloxi Visitors Center overlooks the Gulf of Mexico.

Multimedia

Audio
Rhonda Miller

When Hurricane Katrina raged across the Gulf of Mexico six years ago, it devastated the100 kilometers of the Mississippi coast. Houses, schools, libraries and hotels became piles of broken wood and windows.

Cars, trucks and boats were battered and tossed about. Entire neighborhoods disappeared. Thousands of residents and businesses left the state, but those who stayed are finally seeing a new landscape take shape.

A newly-built Southern mansion with tall white columns and a big porch overlooking the Gulf of Mexico is one sign Biloxi is rebuilding. It's the city’s new Visitors Center, which attracts local residents as well as tourists. Inside, a video tells of the hurricane that changed everything.

This slab foundation, remaining from a house destroyed by Katrina, is one of many still found along the coast.
This slab foundation, remaining from a house destroyed by Katrina, is one of many still found along the coast.

Slow comeback

Rebuilding is a slow and expensive process for a city built on tourism and the seafood industry.

Mississippi’s other coastal cities faced the same challenge. The federal government provided $25 billion for the massive effort.

Gov. Haley Barbour said the initial focus was getting coastal residents back into their homes. “About $4 billion has been dedicated to housing. We will, when we’re through, have either rebuilt or built or repaired more than 50,000 units of housing on the coast.”

Reviving the waterfront

Another major project, using federal money, is the $570 million renovation of the state port facility in Gulfport. Barbour said elevating the port and its container terminals to seven and a half meters, or 25-feet above sea level will protect not just the shippers, but the community.

“Twenty-five feet almost assures there’ll never be another storm surge that comes through here and sweeps all these containers that go into North Gulfport, West Gulfport and even into Long Beach and run over churches and houses and cars and land as far as eight miles away.”

Just east of that construction, the city of Gulfport is rebuilding its harbor for recreational boats. Mayor George Schloegel promises the revived waterfront will be even better than before Katrina.

“The recovery process has been very difficult. We stripped the entire harbor, went back to basics, every single piling was pulled out. We went to the basic structure and have built again, right from the ground," Schloegel says. "And we think we have built something that will be resistant to future storms. Not going to say storm-proof, but resistant.”

While cities can’t just move out of harm’s way, people can and many did relocate. Barb Corry moved to Biloxi a few months before Katrina struck to be near her son, who’s in the Air Force. Even though her house withstood the storm, Corry moved 160 kilometers north, saying she couldn’t face living through another hurricane.

“It was just disaster, trees all over. It was just like a bomb had went off. Most of the homes in our area, were just nothing left, just slabs, all the whole area was nothing but slabs, it was just sad.”

Cheryl Kring's rebuilt home in Waveland, Mississippi is one block from the beach. The elevated house is typical of the new landscape along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Cheryl Kring's rebuilt home in Waveland, Mississippi is one block from the beach. The elevated house is typical of the new landscape along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Staying on

But many on the Mississippi Gulf Coast won’t consider moving.

Cheryl Kring has lived most of her life one block from the beach in Waveland, about an hour east of New Orleans. She was a child in 1969 when her family home was destroyed by Hurricane Camille.

Then she and her husband lost their home to Hurricane Katrina. Now Kring is back on the same property, in a picture-perfect cottage.

“When it comes again - it’s gonna come again - and I’m gonna grab what I can grab and get out of here," says Kring. "And I will rebuild right back here again.”

Hurricane Katrina wiped out nearly all of Waveland. Half of the 8,000 residents left and never came back. But even two Category 5 hurricanes cannot destroy the connection Kring has to her piece of land.

“No matter what, I’m still coming back. No matter what, I will be on this corner. So it doesn’t matter. I love Waveland. I love the area that we’re in. It’s home. You can’t leave home.”


You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid