2006: A Year of Rebuilding and Recovery - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

2006: A Year of Rebuilding and Recovery

The year started off with corruption -- a breach of trust from behind bars.

"At the hands of the law enforcement - the very people whose job it is to protect us - were out of control, and continued a tortuous, what some would call an execution."

That's how attorney Michael Crosby explains what happened February 4th, 2006, when inmate Jessie Lee Williams died in custody at the Harrison County Jail.

His alleged beating death spawned a lengthy and controversial investigation into abuse at the jail, which is still on-going.

A total of four jailers have come forward during the investigation to plead guilty to abuse.

One of the most popular questions of 2006: Which came first, wind or water? Insurance battles escalated throughout the year.Overall, 1,100 lawsuits have been filed against insurance companies stemming from Katrina.

One of the first to go to court, was Paul and Julie Leonard's case against Nationwide this summer. Outside of Federal Court, Paul Leonard said, "Did I feel we have coverage? Did I feel my insurance agent told me we had coverage? And did I base my opinions on that information I gained from him? That's the way I feel and think about it. The answer would be yes. Very much so."

The judge ruled in favor of Nationwide, setting somewhat of a precedent for future wind versus water cases. The insurance crisis affected coast residents from all walks of life, including Congressman Gene Taylor and Senator Trent Lott.

Despite frustrations and road blocks to rebuilding our homes, the coast economy got a big boost in 2006 with the re-opening of casinos.

Ten of the 12 casinos that operated before Katrina are back in business, 7 of those opened in 2006 giving more than 14,000 jobs back to south Mississippi residents.

Looking back to what we've endured over the past year, it's definitely been an eventful year.

In 2006, we certainly saw plenty of FEMA trailers, but we also saw glimpses of hope.

Signs of rebuilding and coming back stronger than before.

2006 was the year of recovery. Hopefully 2007 will be a year of success.

By Meggan Gray

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