Biloxi, Mississippi is poised to recover faster than any other place on the Gulf Coast hit by Hurricane Katrina. Casinos are fueling a building boom, but some residents are still mired in misfortune. American RadioWorks presents an intimate portrait of several families struggling to rebuild their lives in Biloxi, and a city trying to reclaim itself.

Hurricane Katrina spared Ronald Baker's boats, but it may force him off his land.

Ethel Curry still dreams about the water. She was home alone the morning of Hurricane Katrina. As the water level rose, so did her terror. She can't swim.

In the year since the tidal surge heaved up from Biloxi's Back Bay and washed through Julie Suaste's house, her family has had to get used to constant change. They've lived in a boat, a house, and a trailer, all the while fighting to put their lives back together.

Almost a year after Hurricane Katrina, Naomi Foster and her family are just weeks away from moving back in to their house. But even that's too long to wait.

People react in all kinds of ways to adversity. Stanley Smith's response to Hurricane Katrina went this way: get busy, be determined, stay vigilant. One year after Katrina he has a brand new house to show for it.

For many Vietnamese in Biloxi, Hurricane Katrina was at least the second time they'd lost everything they had. The first time came at the end of the Vietnam War in the 1970s when thousands fled the country.

Download the documentary or or read the transcript.

Learn about the history of Biloxi and hurricanes in the Gulf Coast.

See a map of Biloxi including Katrina surge inundation and income distribution.

See a slideshow of the wreckage of Katrina on Biloxi

Listen to the Marketplace segments Stephen Smith and Kate Ellis filed from Biloxi durring the first year post-Katrina.

Links and resources


Rebuilding Biloxi was supported in part by the Kendeda Sustainability Fund of the Tides Foundation - furthering values that contribute to a healthy planet, and from U.S. Programs of the Open Society Institute. Major funding for American RadioWorks comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

©2018 American Public Media