Town Meetings Carry Same Theme

In one respect, Monday's town meeting in Gautier is no different from the others Congressman Gene Taylor has held through his district. People without flood insurance want to know what to do about their damage.

"We all prepared for a hurricane, not a flood," one woman says.

Taylor says no one was prepared and that's why he will propose a Congressional bill that allows homeowners to pay ten years of back premiums to the national flood insurance program. That would give people coverage on the day Hurricane Katrina struck.

"Then they can file up to the amount of their wind insurance or up to a quarter of a million dollar limit that is already part of the federal flood insurance plan. They have to agree to stay in the program."

Taylor says past premiums won't be as expensive as some people fear.

"Let's say you have $60,000 worth of damage. Okay 10 years of back premiums at 400 a year is only 4,000. That would be deducted from the settlement. So you're up 56,000. You're not down anything and it's gonna vary from individual to individual."

Taylor says his idea will be a tough sell to skeptical congressmen who will say people should have known better. But Taylor says no one could have known.

"I parked my truck in a place that had never flooded in Bay St. Louis's history. It went four feet under water. So again, I don't consider myself a dummy and I don't think any of these other people that have gone through this are dumb people. We just had something unimaginable happen."

Taylor says just as Congress helped in the tragedy of 9/11, he will ask the nation's leaders to step forward for South Mississippians.