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Signs of Biloxi

The rebuilding of a community post-Katrina

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Picture your favorite room in your house. Now, imagine water rising from the floor to six feet above. Everything below the watermark is destroyed — family heirlooms, furniture, treasured belongings.

That's how the flooding was described to me and the mission group I traveled with to Biloxi, MS, this past June. More than nine months after Hurricane Katrina, the impact is far reaching.

Approximately 102,000 people are housed temporarily in more than 38,000 FEMA travel trailers and mobile homes. Unemployment on the Gulf Coast is currently estimated to be greater than 14%. The Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce reports that, following an informal survey, Harrison County has lost nearly 30% of its businesses since the storm.

In Biloxi, a reported $500,000 of gaming tax was lost each day the casinos were closed. Gaming revenue, previously $20 million a year; 35% of the city's annual operating revenue, was lost at a $92,000 per day rate.

During my stay, I photographed parts of Biloxi and neighboring Gulfport, including places I'd visited previously in July 2005 on my 2,800-mile road trip.

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