Jon Ritten, president and broker for Coldwell Banker Coast Delta Realty in Diamondhead, Miss., said he is still haunted by the heavy hum of helicopters, and the utter devastation that left his community in tatters. "This place truly looked like Beirut. I can still hear those helicopters coming," he said. Even a year later, this apparent war zone carved out by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast region has plenty of visible and lasting scars. Ritten and a handful of other Coldwell Banker professionals working in the Gulf Coast region shared their stories this week about the storms, the housing market in their areas and the progress made in the year since one of the worst disasters in U.S. history. "A year later we're in many ways worse off than we were immediately after the storm," Ritten said. There are "cracks in the infrastructure, cracks in the social structure," insurance disputes, and troubles with housing affordability. The residents who weathered the storm and are now weathering...
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