Rising from Katrina: How My Mississippi Hometown Lost it All and Found what Mattered

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John F. Blair, Publisher, 2010 - Bay Saint Louis (Miss.) - 358 pages
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Hurricane Katrina left Eddie Favre, the affable mayor of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, with nothing but the shirt and shorts he was wearing. State and local officials offered to send him pants, but Favre declined. "Wearing long pants sends a signal that everything is okay," he insisted. "And until such time as everything is okay here, I'll wear my shorts." Even George W. Bush took notice. "I arrive here at this important school and he's got short pants on," the president remarked during a visit nearly five months after the storm. "Eddie, I like a man who sticks to his guns." Those who read this moving story of the small town of Bay St. Louis and the Mississippi Gulf Coast will discover an entire region that did just that. The 2005 hurricane season was the most devastating in history. People from the Bahamas to Mexico to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida suffered a record 15 hurricanes, four of which reached Category 5 strength. Katrina was the costliest. Images from the Superdome and the rooftops of New Orleans are seared into the American consciousness. But few realize the Mississippi Gulf Coast was where Katrina hit full force and where the destruction was worst. Entire towns were reduced to shoulder-high rubble by the winds and the unprecedented 30-foot storm surge. Bay St. Louis was the former home of CNN correspondent Kathleen Koch. From her initial Katrina assignment in Alabama, Koch headed west in the storm's aftermath. The closer she got to her community, the more personal the story became. Old friends asked her to search for loved ones whose bodies would soon be found. She reported from the sites of once-beautiful homes-- including her own--stripped to their concrete pads. Time and again, she heard residents' pleas to spread the word about the dire needs on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Rising from Katrina is a story of the kindness of strangers, of minor miracles--and, above all, of how despite bureaucratic snarls and insurance battles a region rolled up its sleeves and rebuilt. It is also the story of a veteran reporter who, struggling to maintain her objectivity amid loss, traveled her own personal path from devastation to recovery.
 

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Overall: 4.5 out of 5 We have all seen the images of Katrina. Years later we still see images and our hearts are broken. But (besides actually being there) there is nothing like the spoken word ... Read full review

Contents

Foreword by Anderson Cooper
3
The Assignment
13
Getting Ready
19
The Storm
28
The Aftermath
42
Return to the Bay
82
Final Search
101
Bodies and Beds
112
Disaster Tours
206
Mardi Gras
221
Hurricane Season
237
Oneyear Anniversary
252
Fall 2006
265
Winter of Discontent
275
Second Anniversary
288
Third Anniversary
305

Faith to Go On
130
Wakeup Call
155
Fall Rituals
167
Thanksgiving
181
Holidays
197
Fourth Anniversary and Beyond
315
Authors Note
345
Acknowledgments
346
Index
347
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