But Gulfport was still without help three days after the storm, and Warr's control over the situation was slipping. Looting broke out downtown. When Warr drove a utility vehicle down U.S. 90, he watched as his longtime family business, Warr's Men's Clothing, was ransacked.
Worst of all, the city was running out of fuel. Generators were about to fail, rescue vehicles were running out of gas. One local hospital radioed that it was on backup power and had no water, and that looters were circling.
Warr turned to his chief of police, Stephen T. Barnes. There was a private fuel transport vehicle -- Warr doesn't remember whose -- parked in a lot behind a chain-link fence. Warr had the lock cut. "Can we hot-wire it?" he asked.
A Republican mayor, in a Republican state is forced to steal to try to maintain order. Where was the support he was supposed to have gotten?
In the three weeks since the storm, Mississippians have in some ways felt as cut off as they did on the day it struck. Sen. Trent Lott (R) says Mississippians "are disenchanted" with the federal response in their state.
So when you hear somebody blaming the locals in New Orleans, please ask them why the screwed us response in Mississippi. The one big difference is, much of Louisianan was under 5-15 feet of water, and Mississippi had the advantage of being dry. In both cases, it is clear the response of the Bush administration was a abject failure.
From the LA Times, also in Mississippi.
Robert Williams tried to contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the county about removing two 60-foot pine trees that threatened his mother's home here.
No one responded, so Williams borrowed a chain saw and brought the trees down on his own.
After a while, the 32-year-old church janitor got through to FEMA. "They gave us a case number and said someone would be out as soon as possible," he said, standing beside the fallen trees, which crushed a utility shed. "We have no idea when that will be."
Half a mile away, James Meeks, 54, found a large portion of his mobile home's roof in a tree, crumpled like an accordion. Meeks' wife, Betty, 57, called FEMA to find out about emergency compensation.
"To be honest, it has taken FEMA quite a while to get back to us," she said. "I called them more than 10 days ago, and they said they would be right out. Nobody has come yet."
James Meeks hauled out a ladder and crafted a makeshift roof. He worked without electricity, which did not return to his neighborhood until two weeks after the hurricane.
The one piece of good luck for those is Mississippi is they were not underwater, if they had been they would have been able to do as much for themselves as they have.
For other tales of local response and FEMA's efforts, visit Badtux, for a very good collection.