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Bay St. Louis: A Town and a Family Reshaped

Among the Gulf Coast towns devastated by Hurricane Katrina, Bay St. Louis was a weekend casino and golf escape for some, and a lifelong home for others.

The resulting devastation to the town, which includes the displacement of more than 3,000 of its residents and damage to 95 percent of its homes, has left it with an uncertain future.

Mayor Edward Favre's family has a history in Bay St. Louis stretching back nine generations. Favre (cousin of football's Brett) now sleeps and works in the town's fire station. His mother's home was severely damaged also. And his Uncle Gregory, who now lives in California, is a former newspaper editor who has written about his hometown's plight.

All of them express hope that a new, brighter future awaits Bay St. Louis. Part of that hope, for Mayor Favre, rests on the fact that floating casinos damaged in the hurricane are now permitted to rebuild on land. That, he says, would be a key boost to the town's crippled economic base.

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Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.
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