What State Legislators See Could Benefit Coast

With all that Hurricane Katrina tore down, now the storm seems to be building bridges within an often divided Mississippi legislature. House and Senate leaders were on the coast Tuesday for a progress report from the Governor's Commission. They also took a drive down devastated Highway 90. That trip could go a long way for helping the coast come January in Jackson.

"It's overwhelming. It really is," said a stunned John Moore.

Moore is a state representative from Rankin County. Until he took his first ride along Highway 90 since the hurricane, he says he hadn't fully understood the magnitude of the devastation.

"You can imagine the destruction when you're watching it on t.v. but it's very localized," he said. "It's almost like you're looking in one neighborhood. When you actually ride through it It goes on and on. We're passing a casino on the wrong side of the highway right now and it's just amazing.

Gulfport Representative Frances Fredericks believes all Mississippi legislators need to survey the damage here before they start talking about funding the rebuilding efforts.

"I think once they see that we really need them they are going to be more supportive for us and I'm looking forward to working with them in January to make some things happen."

Fredericks says a bill to help homeowners is already being discussed by lawmakers.

Frances [1708] I think now that they see this they will understand how important it is for families who didn't have flood insurance, who were not fully insured to.. they will see how important it is to give some help because they will see that homes are completely destroyed.

Representative John Moore says now that he's seen the need, he'll tell his Rankin County constituents and fellow lawmakers, that the rest of the state must step up and help.

"Just do everything you can," said Moore. "Give until you can't give anymore to help the people down here. Help the communities, and when you think you've given all you can give, give a little more."

The bus ride was the first tour for some state legislators but not all. Representative France Fredericks says she believes if more of them had toured the devastation earlier the land based casino bill would have passed more quickly.