East Biloxians Hold On Through Recovery Efforts

Katrina's winds and flood waters washed away a number of homes in East Biloxi, including some on Main Street. But some homes in the area are still standing, as are the residents in that tight-knit community who have decided to continue living there.

"We watched houses float down the street. We watched houses go underwater," said Main Street resident Keith Cook.

That was the sight from his home home as he and some of his Main Street neighbors rode out Katrina. Cook's home would become a haven for many in this East Biloxi neighborhood during and after the storm.

"Before you know it, lady, there were 26, 28 people in my house. They stayed for about a week and a half, two weeks," Copk said.

Many of Cook's neighbors have now returned to their own tattered homes, but residents on the historic street agree the storm has only strengthened their ties of friendship.

"We were a strong community before the hurricane, but after the hurricane, we became a lot stronger, we look out for each other a lot more than what we did," said resident Dana Baker.

Cook said, "It's like family. We have a diverse neighborhood. We have Vietnamese, black, white, everybody, and we pull together, and this has brought us even closer together."

A number of people in the area say they feel the local and federal governments haven't responded quickly enough to recovery efforts here in the area. They do, however, say they're thankful for the outside support that's come pouring in.

"Most of the help that we're getting now is coming from churches and civic organizations like that. We got not the kind of help that I thought we'd get from the city and government, but we got more of people pulling together and just the churches in general. To me it seems like they should have just had a better plan," Cook said.

Vincent Creel, spokesman for the city of Biloxi, says most of the city's disaster recovery efforts have been concentrated in East Biloxi. Creel believes a lack of communication in the storm-battered area is preventing people there from seeing all that the city is doing throughout that area.