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Can-do spirit prevails in Mississippi

Devastated residents in Mississippi aren't waiting for what the government will give them after the hurricanes, as NBC's Martin Savidge reports.

We are off the map in Mississippi. You have to be a local to find Lakeshore. At the local Baptist church, the only thing left is the steeple. 

But faith is still strong. It is not moving mountains, but building homes, one at a time, starting with James Bobbit.

Bobbit and other volunteers here are using a donated saw and turning his own broken trees into 2x4s for the new home he wants to build. But they're not just rebuilding Bobbit’s home.

“I'm going to rebuild everybody's home that needs a home,” says Bobbit.

Farther down the road, on the Louisiana border, you find Pearlington, Miss. The people here say this town was forgotten before the storm, so it's no surprise they feel overlooked now.

Griff Hailes got tired of waiting for the government to help, so he bought his own trailer and put it where his house used to be.

“We had a little savings,” Hailes says. “We're old folks, I'm 80, she's 79. We saved up a little nest egg. Time to use it.”

Late Thursday we crossed the state line into Louisiana and headed north, into Bogalusa.

Estimates are Hurricane Katrina brought down 65 percent of the trees here, enough to rebuild every home in New Orleans.

“The big trees are the ones that took a hit,” says tree farmer Bill Jenkins.

It's a huge loss for Louisiana's timber industry, which will likely take a $1 billion hit. Washington Parish president Toye Taylor says they too have been ignored.

“We knew that help was not coming,” he says. “Sometimes we are the forgotten parish, or the forgotten area.”

But like many we met Thursday, he says folks aren't waiting for what the government will give them. Instead, they make do with what they have.