Well here we sit, exactly 2 years after KATRINA and life stumbles on in Hancock County. The suicide rate is 14% higher than it’s ever been, Doctor’s are handing out free 3 week supplies of anti-depressants like M&M’s at a kid’s party and the only ones enjoying themselves are the Casinos.

Rosy pictures are painted of Biloxi and Gulfport due to the fact that most if the filming is inside a brand spanking new Casino. Hancock County still doesn’t even have a grocery store other than Wally world, and they can’t keep up with the demand for the basics. Yet the “demographics” don’t support the need for another grocery. And no, the population isn’t that much lower than what it was, and is still higher than when we had 4 major chain groceries here. Go figure….

There are still over 12,000 families in trailers here on the coast. Many are sickened by formaldehyde, yet FEMA still says that no one’s complaining, and the trailers are safe. Apartments for the renters are 400% higher in cost than they were before, if you can find one. Insurance costs have gone up over 400% in Hancock County alone. I had made a prediction that the local folk who’ve lived here for generations would be priced out of their own homes and towns. Its happening as I write this.

And of course, the cities and county governments are looking out for their own coffers, without wanting to provide services. You’ve all seen my write up on East Hancock fire, and their unfortunate demise. The Bay St. Louis FD now plans to take the apparatus from EHFD and STORE IT at Stennis Space Center, on the other end of the County! People in the annexed area just might get to vote for a representative for their area in 2 more years, as the Justice Department hasn’t OK’d the new district boundaries… Don’t want to disenfranchise one or two, when you can screw them all… And it seems that donations that were made to be utilized for the County and City employees after KATRINA were never dispersed. They’ve been sitting in a bank account earning interest. The County is forming a Committee to figure out what they should do with it, while Bay St. Louis plans on buying lawn mowers….

There are good points. Those that have rebuilt are now subject to inspections and must comply with the Southern States Building code… a first for the County. People can see a glimmer of hope and don’t have that continuous thousand yard stare that was so common last year. Many are still self medicating with booze and illicit drugs, but the times have made some of the weak stronger and some of the predators are getting what they’ve deserved.

As for me, well, I’m too damn stubborn to quit. I’ve been shafted by 2 different contractors, have a lawsuit against one, and the other is being hunted by the law. My mutts are in good health so far. I’ve changed employers and FD’s and my world hasn’t collapsed in on itself. I was actually able to sit back and enjoy a cheap Connecticut Cigar the other night and watch rabbits dine in my side yard for the first time in two years…

I still get nervous when the Weather Channel starts talking about Atlantic and Caribbean weather characteristics. And I have a lap full of dogs and cats when it thunders, which makes it damn difficult to get up and get another beer. My liver still functions, I’m not a full fledged bottle baby as I thought I might be by this time.

Life is tolerable.

And the light at the end of the tunnel? Well, I’m not so sure that it’s a train after all…

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