Rising From the Ruins, Part 4

By: Leonard Horton
By: Leonard Horton

This week we are taking a special look at Bay St. Louis, Mississippi and its rocky road to recovery. What we found were many families who are still struggling and still living in FEMA-supplied mobile homes.

Bay Village one of the many FEMA trailer camps in Bay St. Louis. This particular camp has 168 trailers. There is no grass and no playground, only gravel, but the tenants stay here rent free.

"We don't have to pay for lights, water, gas, anything. It is pretty well furnished," says tenant Veronica Webb.

Meanwhile, other tenants say they don't feel safe here.

"There is a lot of drug activity. We've had several people busted in here because of it," says tenant William Burton.

Linda Dedeaux and James McPhearson have been here since last September.

"My insurance got paid from the water mark to the roof. Oh good, I got a roof. Can I get a house to put under the roof?" asked Dedeaux.

"This is mostly a democratic area. I guess if you are not a Republican you don't get much help!" added Dedeaux.

A FEMA spokesperson says the contract on the trailers here is up in February, but those who live here say there isn't enough affordable housing in Bay St. Louis to go around.

"This is where I sleep," pointed Margaret Golemon to her bed.

A mother of three, Golemon moved to Bay Saint Louis five years ago from Louisiana to start a new life after she lost her husband. She describes the first two weeks in the trailer as a nightmare.

"You would get a scratchy throat, nausea, headaches and a burning in your eyes. And the smell was so strong, but it faded away after two weeks," said Golemon, who recently brought a new dog into the home, a way of taking the stress off of an already stressful situation.

"I'm trying to keep everybody from fighting and being underneath each other. I tell everybody it's going to be okay; we're going to get through it. Instead of thinking negative, I think positive. At least we have what we have."


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