NPR logo Need Building Supplies? Try Hancock County.

Need Building Supplies? Try Hancock County.

A dispatch from Noah Adams, blogging from the Gulf Coast:

On the drive back west from Ocean Springs I got to thinking about the Lowe's hardware chain and sure enough, when I got into Waveland, Miss., and down to the town's main intersection I noticed a grand opening sign on the brand new and very big Lowe's. I'd noticed back in June that Lowe's was building right next to a new Home Depot, and right across the street from an existing 84 Lumber. That's a lot of building supplies for Hancock County.

Then I drove over to the next-door town of Bay St. Louis to see what the folks at the W.A. McDonald hardware and building supply might think about all this. I'd noticed this interesting older store by the railroad tracks. (One of the store signs said "W.A. McDonald & Sons" and another read "W.A. McDonald & Daughters.")

But on Wednesdays and Saturdays they close at noon. And every day they close for lunch from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. I called historian Charles Gray who lives nearby and he said, "Yes, Jim McDonald, a son, runs the place now and he has four lovely daughters." The store is 105 years old.

There was a very faded slogan on the front window: "Try McDonald's — they usually have it."

Times change. And at a pace sometimes pushed by hurricanes.

Early tomorrow I'm back to New Orleans, where a year ago, the desperate times of flooding were underway.