Video: Louisiana: After the storm

By Anchor
updated 11/1/2005 9:35:55 PM ET 2005-11-02T02:35:55

Tuesday, we went as far south as we could — to the Gulf of Mexico and the beach town it stole away.

Holly Beach is now a collection of clues that people once lived here: a sink here, a can opener there.

Odis Clark's two-story beachfront house is now a beachfront concrete slab.  “We're standing in my wet bar area,” Clark says as NBC tours the wreckage. 

The storm surge in his area, he says, was 20 feet — so much seawater, he adds, full electricity may not be back for one to two years.

Even his Jack Russell terrier, Miss Louisiana, seems to suspect something's wrong.

“It got all washed away. Or blew away,” Clark says. “I don't know which come first, the water or the wind.”

In Cameron, where you have to hop a ferry to cross Calcasieu Lake, the signs warn: “Don't blink or you'll miss the time of your life.”

That's not how Wendell Murphy sees it. He lost the hardware store he started with his son 30 years ago.

“This building is probably close to 200 feet long from one end to the other,” says Murphy. “And the whole building has shifted off its foundation.”

If you look at the damage you may wonder whether anyone honestly plans to move back. The folks we met said if they do, it won't be in a free-standing house.

Odis Clark may simply bring a camper.

“When the weather bureau says it's time to move,” he says. “I can just come down here, hook my truck to it and go.”

Refusing to trust the water he once loved or the Gulf Coast window view he once had, Clark still has his sense of humor. 

“Um, it's more open now,” he laughs.

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