By Peter Whoriskey
Updated: 12:57 a.m. HT May 24, 2006
BILOXI, Miss. - This city's east side remains largely abandoned, a bleak panorama of empty lots and abandoned homes left behind by the tradesmen, shrimpers and casino workers who once lived here.
Hundreds had little or no insurance. For people such as 83-year-old Elzora Brown, a retired dry-cleaning presser whose little frame house was waterlogged up to the eaves, there's not enough federal disaster aid for repairs. "Whatever the Lord sees fit, that's what I'll have," she said.
Just down the coast in Pascagoula, defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. similarly didn't have enough insurance to cover hurricane losses at its shipyards. But the company isn't awaiting divine intervention.
It had an ally in the U.S. Senate and is slated to receive $140 million for rebuilding.
"The losses it incurred . . . could adversely impact those jobs, add to the cost of the high-tech destroyers and cruisers the shipyard is building for the Navy, and affect our national security," said Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.). Northrop's money is tucked into the $109 billion spending bill intended for Hurricane Katrina and the Iraq war. It is an earmark, one of those narrowly focused appropriations that members of Congress arrange for their constituents or favored recipients.....................................