Holloway outlines recovery effort

“Biloxi is on the way back,” Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway said this morning, noting that Mississippi Power had restored electricity over the weekend to all its eligible customers, city water service is available to Biloxi water customers, and hundreds of workers have been removing storm debris from rights-of-way throughout Biloxi.

“The recovery began in the hours after Hurricane Katrina passed on Aug. 29,” Holloway said, “but it’s going to be a long process. The good news is that our city crews and our residents are up to this awesome task.”

Initial assessments show that the storm destroyed more than 5,000 of the 25,000 structures in Biloxi, mainly at Point Cadet in east Biloxi and Eagle Point south of Woolmarket, and that number was expected to increase as city inspectors made more detailed analysis. See a map of the initial assessment at biloxi.ms.us/Katrina/MapFull.htm.

“Hundreds of truckloads of relief – water, food, ice and clothing – has poured into Biloxi as a result of a worldwide relief effort,” said Holloway, who has met with President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other leaders in the aftermath of the storm. “President Bush told me to do what I needed to do to rebuild this city and he’d find the money.”

Relief agencies and neighborhood churches in east Biloxi have set up free feeding stations at several locations throughout the city. Thousands of meals are served daily at Yankie Stadium, and Red Cross and Salvation Army vehicles cruise neighborhoods delivering meals.

FEMA is in the process of setting up Disaster Relief Centers to accept relief applications for temporary housing for those displaced by the storm.

Two of the three bridges to the Biloxi peninsula – the U.S. 90 bridge from Ocean Springs and the Popp’s Ferry bridge in west Biloxi – were impassable if not destroyed, and a section of northbound traffic on the I-110 is limited.
Additionally, U.S. 90 is closed to motorists and areas west of Caillavet Street and the entire Eagle Point community are open only to relief workers and property owners.

Since the storm, Biloxi police have cited more than 120 people for violating the 8 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew, which has been in place since the storm.

Police are warning motorists that they are subject to being ticketed or arrested for moving or driving around barricades.

Traffic is slow moving on most major thoroughfares, particularly on Irish Hill Drive, and motorists are asked to limit traffic to necessary trips and to use direct routes when they must travel. Coast Transit Authority has established free bus service, linking east Biloxi with west Biloxi, d’Iberville and Gulfport. To see the routes, visit biloxi.ms.us/Katrina/CTARoutes.htm.

Said Holloway: “We must remain patient, understanding, and, most importantly, compassionate to our neighbors. You can already see improvements – streets being cleared, supply lines being established.

And keep this one final thought in mind: The city and its citizens have endured countless obstacles over the years, and this storm is providing an opportunity for us to again show the unparalleled resilience of this community. Keep the faith, and God bless you.”

The city’s web site is being updated with a host of storm recovery information. To keep up, visit biloxi.ms.us.