Many residents in hurricane-ravaged areas say they don't want their communities rebuilt without their input. Those who live in East Biloxi are no exception.
Tuesday night, the East Biloxi Coordination and Relief Center began a series of meetings where residents will have the chance to draft a plan for rebuilding.
The sanctuary of Main Street Missionary Baptist Church in Biloxi was filled with survivors from one of the area's hardest hit by Katrina - East Biloxi.
"We all are here. We all know how bad it has been, but we know how much we want our area come back," said Biloxi Ward 2 Councilman Bill Stallworth.
East Biloxi is known for its diversity, but on this night, Councilman Stallworth urged everyone present to give their input on how the historic area should be rebuilt. And while diverse views are sure to be given, everyone at the meeting agreed on one thing.
"We want to see it come back as the proverbial bigger, better and stronger," Stallworth said.
Five-hundred East Biloxians have already filled out a survey. Tuesday night, everyone at the meeting was given another form to fill out, listing their top three concerns.
This informational meeting is the first of five. The next meetings will follow in this order over the next two months: issue identification, working group brainstorming, problem solving, sharing group work.
All these meetings will eventually lead to a community action plan report that should be completed in May. It will then be presented to the City Council. However, East Biloxi's councilmen stressed that the residents will also be responsible for implementing the report's recommendations.