Video: West to New Orleans

By Martin Savidge Correspondent
NBC News
updated 10/31/2005 8:50:32 PM ET 2005-11-01T01:50:32

In Foley, Ala., rather than taking, Hurricane Katrina gave the town something — a chance to give back.

In September 2004, Hurricane Ivan devastated Foley, and help poured in.

"We went through those long lines, we waited for ice," remembers Foley Mayor Tim Russell. "We did without power. We went hungry."

Which is why, after emerging from Katrina relatively unharmed, the people of Foley opened their hearts and doors to 400 of Katrina's victims.

"It was like coming into heaven with angels taking care of you," says evacuee Melanie Mitchell.

Fifty miles west sits Bayou La Batre, the heart of Alabama's fishing industry. Folks boast they have saltwater in their veins. After Katrina's 21-foot storm surge, they also had it in their homes.

And even though government trailers are all over, most say to this day, faith, not FEMA, has been the biggest help.

"The church groups, they were just outstanding," says evacuee Felicia Douglass. "I don't think we could've made it without them."

In this town of 2,500, almost everyone catches or processes fish, shrimp and oysters. And though most of their boats are off the rocks, the $200-million-a-year shrimp industry isn't. Fuel and ice are still in short supply. And the largest processing plant started up again only last week.

Two months after Katrina, fishermen say they're more likely to find pieces of people's homes than shrimp in their nets.

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