Video: Mississippi: After the storm

By Martin Savidge Correspondent
NBC News
updated 11/1/2005 9:36:32 PM ET 2005-11-02T02:36:32

Driving into Mississippi, we met the rain — the first here in more than five weeks —  bringing new misery to those who need no more.

Katrina is reshaping the human landscape here. As one man put it, “If she didn't kill you, she changed you.”

You can see change at Resurrection Catholic elementary school. Mostly white, it was flooded by a storm surge that swept three miles into Jackson County.

“All of the schoolbooks are gone,” says Elizabeth Benefield, Resurrection Catholic School principal. “All the shelves the books sat on, the desks the children sat in, their tables, chairs, everything. We lost all that.”

Another school fared even worse. St. Peter the Apostle Catholic School was originally started in the 1900s to teach the children of slaves. It's been predominantly African American ever since, and no one can say with any certainty if it will ever be rebuilt. Now white and black have been united by tragedy. Ninety-eight percent of them have damaged or destroyed homes.

The same storm surge forced Angela Tolbert and 14 others to the roof of her home in nearby Moss Point. It also poured through a closed chemical plant and sewage facility next door. Tolbert fears toxins may have been left behind and says no one has come to investigate.

“You are the first ones here,” she tells us.

There's a different fear in Orange Grove, where 200 alligators escaped the Gulf Coast gator ranch. So far, Allen Adams has only found 40.

“You catch one here, one there,” says Adams, “and before you know it, you got a bunch of them.” 

And, in a Pascagoula parking lot, a woman who'd only give her name as Carolyn, is searching for a coat for her grandchild. She digs through a sea of donated clothing. If need be, Carolyn will search all night.

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