Not much has changed in Cameron, La. Since the last time we visited. Houses had been removed from roadways, but personal homes still remained as artifacts of a hurricane's destruction. The area is still off limits to residents. Only emergency personnel and specific contractors are allowed into the area.
Some signs of the future are visible. The ferry runs regularly. Birds are hunting in the marshes again. Dolphins breach the canal for air as they hunt for fish.
However, it will be a long time before anything close to "normal" returns. The court house is still surrounded by FEMA tents and portable toilets. Without customers, there's no point in shops rebuilding. Water and electricity run in some places, but there is no gasoline, food or other means to survive.
As the rain begins to fall, the dried dirt becomes mud again. The stench of dried, dead animals is refreshed and the unsettling quietness, isolation from safety and destroyed surroundings make every storm more menacing.
Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise
A truck remains trapped under a house in Cameron, La. on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2005. The parish got as much as 15 feet of storm surge during Hurricane Rita and is trying to get property owners to submit right-of-entry forms so U.S. Corps of Army Engineers can demolish most houses.
An overturned truck remains next to a destroyed power transmission terminal in Cameron, La.
A truck remains destroyed by a house marked for demolition in Cameron, La.
An alligator decays by a destroyed house in Cameron, La.
Destroyed trucks remains scattered throughout Cameron, La.
Clifton Hebert, Cameron Parish's emergency operations center operations chief, (right) lightens the mood in the planning trailer in Cameron, La.
Clifton Hebert, Cameron Parish's emergency operations center operations chief, (right) walks past the remains of his home in Cameron, La. He believes his neighborhood was destroyed by tornados before the storm surge carried away the debris.
Charles Primeaux, Jr. shovels inches of mud from his home in Cameron, La. His home is one of very few which can be rebuilt. It was originally constructed in the 1930s of shipgrade lumber.
Patty Cope of Houston (left) holds a shovel as her daughter, Jenny Broussard (right), cleans it in Cameron, La. They were trying to open a clogged sewage line.
Jenny Broussard (right) checks her boots after her mother Patty Cope of Houston (left) spray-cleaned them in Cameron, La. They borrowed a neighbor's hose as water to Broussard's home no longer ran.
Some areas show modest improvement. Debris from the Cameron Parish Library has been removed by the U.S. Corps of Army Engineers in Cameron, La.
Vehicles travel down Louisiana Highway 27 through the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge near Holly Beach during a storm. Power line poles erected since Hurricane Rita begin to slide into the water as tornado warnings were issued for Cameron Parish. Each step forward in the area seems to be accompanied with a half-step backward.
For additional coverage, please see Hurricane Rita's toll on SW Louisiana or Mark's Hurricane Rita visual timeline.