Closer to the beachfront in Pass Christian, Steve Ladner was waiting for customers at Martin's Hardware. The 80-year-old hardware store only had one wall standing after Katrina, but was rebuilt as part of a small shopping center in the western Harrison County town, where well-off New Orleanians have long maintained grand beach homes.
Ladner said business was strong from 8 a.m. to about noon, as he sold rope, lights, batteries and other hurricane supplies. "All hurricane sales final" said the sign on the counter. Business dried up quickly at midday. "It's over now," Ladner said.
Customers said they were staying, Ladner said, even though all of Pass Christian was included in a mandatory evacuation order that began at noon.
"It's good for business, but you don't want to make your money like this," Ladner said.
And in Theodore, Ala., 148 people had taken refuge in an emergency shelter set up at the town's high school by midday Tuesday, with minds focused as much on the past and the present storm.
Charlotte McCrary, 41, had spent the night in the shelter along with her husband Bryan and their two sons, 3-year-old Tristan and 1-year-old Gabriel. Charlotte McCrary said she spent a year living in a FEMA trailer after Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed her home, and said she still hasn't gotten back to the same place where she was seven years ago. She said memories of that time influenced her decision go to the shelter.
"I think what it is," Bryan McCrary said, "is it brings back a lot of bad memories."
This story was reported by Associated Press writers Cain Burdeau in New Orleans, Kevin McGill in Houma, La., Holbrook Mohr in Waveland and Pass Christian, Miss., and Jeff Amy reported from Biloxi and Gulfport, Miss., Jay Reeves in Gulf Shores, Ala., Jessica Gresko in Coden, Ala., and Julie Pace in Ames, Iowa.
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