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Postscript to Katrina

As you read this message, one year has passed since Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. I would like to bring you up-to-date on how things have progressed in Mississippi since that unforgettable day, Aug. 29, 2005.

Transportation was severely hampered after Katrina because many streets and highways buckled and bridges collapsed. Many roadways have been repaired well enough to allow traffic through, but repairing major bridges is another matter. The bridge between Biloxi and Ocean Springs, for example, remains in ruins. Rebuilding is scheduled for a November 2007 completion. The bridge between Hancock and Harrison Counties is slated for completion next May.

On the Gulf Coast, housing is overwhelmingly in short supply. There were 6,000 homes and business lost to this storm in Biloxi alone. Housing is very hard to find and rebuilding is going slowly. Small towns like Pearlington, Miss., lost virtually everything. After the storm passed through this small community, there were three homes left standing, untouched by Katrina’s fury.

Along with the severe shortage in housing for our work force, we also are challenged with keeping our workers conscious of safety at all times. Meanwhile, there is a lot of discussion on construction practices and technologies that will withstand future storms.

There are still many stories of devastation in communities throughout Louisiana and Mississippi. While I obviously can’t talk about them all, I know that much remains to be done before the residents can put the tragedy behind them and get back on with their normal lives.

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