Video: Town staggered after Katrina

By Correspondent
NBC News
updated 11/30/2005 7:45:16 PM ET 2005-12-01T00:45:16

Three months after Hurricane Katrina, Pass Christian still looks devastated: Block after block of debris and obliterated homes and businesses. The Police Department is still in ruins, and destroyed cars and boats are everywhere. Entire neighborhoods are silent.

Mayor Billy McDonald is a lifelong resident, who takes the catastrophic losses here personally.

"It's sickening," he says. "This was a nice neighborhood. They were good people, and it's really been devastating."

Pass Christian is only in the early phases of cleaning up the rubble. In part, that's because of the enormity of the task, but also because of the lack of money. With most of the houses destroyed, all of the small businesses gone and the big Wal-Mart torn apart, Pass Christian lost 80 percent of its tax base.

Of the 6,800 people who lived here before the hurricane, only a thousand or so still remain, more than 100 of them in a tent city.

Barbara Paschall lost virtually everything at her home of 18 years and has received no money from her insurance company to rebuild.

"I haven't heard anything but, 'We'll send you a check in the mail,' and that's been three months ago," says Paschall.

Some Mississippi towns were hit so hard, they're actually considering giving up their charters, so the county and state can pay for their recovery. Pass Christian has no such plans now, but there are no illusions about a recovery that could take years.

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