Hoping to be back in a city that can come back little by little

Chuck’s Dairy Bar, a longtime restaurant in Rolling Fork, is now nothing more than its slab and battered metal walk-in freezer, which employees huddled inside to ride out the hurricane. Behind it was a destroyed mobile home park, where the wreckage — a wig, a mop, clothes, a slow cooker, trucks — told the story of the upside down and lost lives.

In other areas, houses were swept off their foundations, and some trees that had been rooted in yards for generations were uprooted from the ground. “We’ll be at the right address, the house will be three doors down,” said John Gebhardt, a professor of military science at the University of Mississippi, who helped organize the rescue and shelter and resource center.

“The night I got here, I cried while I was working,” he said. “There were tears associated with sadness and tears associated with pride.”

Outsiders rush into Rolling Fork, handing out food and running to Walmart to buy T-shirts and underwear. Carolyn Kilgore drives back and forth with her husband from outside the state capital, Jackson, 80 miles away, to deliver meals.

“You need a plate, little man,” she said to a boy playing outside a Rolling Fork motel.

On the menu today: bacon, hot dogs, hamburgers, potato chips and sports drinks. Clamshell containers filled the back of the pickup truck they were driving around town.

“We are trying to reach people who cannot reach us,” Ms. Kilgore said.

Shelter is open at the old National Guard Armory in Rolling Fork, and there is also an open shelter. Those who did not leave town wanted to be as close to family or their properties as possible. Ms. Kilgore observed single-family homes that were overflowing with extended families.

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