Dealing With Georges' Legacy

When Elizabeth Berry reached her brown, two-story cinderblock home, she found it laid over like a toppled house of cards, compliments of Hurricane Georges.

The once-beautiful waterfront home with a view of the Gulf of Mexico was mere rubble Wednesday. Only the front wall was standing, with a mural of a mountain scene and a brown dog looking through a painted window. The door was still bolted.

"I felt ill," said Mrs. Berry, whose other, insured house down the beach made it through relatively unscathed. "It had to have been a tidal wave."

Georges is long gone, but Mrs. Berry is one of many still feeling its effects across the Gulf Coast. While the loss of life and devastation isn't as widespread as in the Caribbean, it is still a mess.

CBS News Correspondent Lee Cowan reports that cleanup efforts began almost immediately after the winds died down, but mopping up while the rains still fell seemed like a losing battle.

In the Florida Panhandle, rivers are running over their banks, flooding homes and closing roads. Hundreds of people were forced from their homes and dozens of roads were closed. Georges dumped 2 feet of rain in some areas.



About 60,000 of people were without power Wednesday, down from about 250,000 immediately after the hurricane splashed ashore Monday. National Guard troops were directing traffic along the major roads in Pascagoula and Moss Point. Many businesses were still shuttered, and long lines formed at the few restaurants that were able to serve food.

Mississippi Gaming Commission officials have given riverboat casinos permission to open, but hurricane force winds damaged a few of the gambling houses.

Shelter populations, at the peak some 15,000 people, fluctuated as many residents found their homes uninhabitable. Adding to the problems were warnings by the state agencies that some water was believed to be contaminated by garbage and sewage.

On Wednesday, James Lee Witt, Federal Emergency Management Agency director, toured the storm-ravaged Mississippi coast, where the state has asked that three counties be declared disaster areas. An estimated 1,000 homes were flooded in coastal areas of the state, and things are expected to be worse in Alabama.

One county in the Florida Keys and 11 in Alabama have been declared federal disaster areas, which allows them to apply for help including temporary housing and unemployment assistance.

CBS 'This Morning' Meteorologist Craig Allen reports that the Gulf Coast still is being hit by offshoots of the storm.

A tornado spawned by Hurricane Georges touched down in Florida with winds of nearly 100 mph causing widespread damage. Showers and thunderstorms (another legacy of Georges) are moving off thGulf Coast Thursday.

Workers hustled about Mobile, Ala., with rakes, leaf blowers and chain saws, sprucing up for Merle Haggard, one of 100 performers at the three-day BayFest show that kicks off Friday.

Hummingbirds have returned to Robert Craig's back yard in Mobile. Craig and his neighbor, Randy Santullo, live along Dog River, one of many waterways turned into raging torrents by the hurricane's storm surge Monday. It deposited fish in strange places.

"I've seen mullet jumping in the front yard where I normally mow the grass," said Santullo, leaning on a rake. The river is about 100 yards from his house, but came up to his deck when Georges passed through.

Back in Fontainebleu, graders and backhoes were scraping roads that had as much as 6 feet of sand on them.

"We had one of those six-wheelers, and we got bogged down two or three times; had to have one of those graders pull us out," said Mit James, whose house suffered a cracked foundation and lost its roof.

Pascagoula fireman Dan Claffey Jr. was just getting around to his own house after days of helping others. The house on pink stilts was fine, but the beach-level storage room - where he'd moved all his mother's china from England after his son's birth six months ago - was a jumble of cracked cement.

"My wife's from here," said Claffey, who is from Peterborough, England. "She was prepared for this. I wasn't."

Claffey was feeling sorry for himself until he got a call from his dad in England. His father, who is part of a government team preparing to assess hurricane damage in Puerto Rico, helped put things in perspective.

"I was complaining, 'I lost this, I lost that'," Claffey said. "And he says, 'Is your son okay? Is your wife okay? Then don't worry about it... Don't become a possession of your possessions'."