Monday, November 28, 2005

Cameron two months later

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.


Laurie said...

Amazing pictures!

Lesley Nunez said...

I grew up in Cameron and graduated from South Cameron High in 1991 then moved to Dothan, Alabama one year later. It really hurts to see the devistation that mother nature bestowed on my home town. May the good Lord bless each and every one of you in this time of need and may he lead you all to a guick and steady recovery.

Lesley Nunez said...

I would be honored to hear from the good people of Cameron. Anyone wishing to e-mail can reach me at the following (

David Scoggins said...

Greetings to everyone in Cameron. My name is David Scoggins with the Smith Mountain Lake Marine Fire & Rescue Department in Virginia. Our members served as fire protection through the month of November for Cameron Parish and it was an honor and priviledge to serve and play a small roll in helping the residents of Cameron to get back on their feet again. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. We may be returning to continue our duties and I look forward to seeing everyone again.

CMOORE said...

Hello from Vriginia Beach, Virginia. My name is Chris Moore with the Chesapeake, Virginia Fire Department.Our department also sent numerous members down to Cameron to staff fire stations and the Cameron Emergency Operations Center. I was assigned in the Cameron EOC for two weeks and the devastation is just breathtaking. Photos and news stories just dont put is into as much perspective as actually being there and seeing it firsthand. Even with all the destruction the people of Cameron, who many have lost everything, carry on with the greatest of attitudes. As stated on the courthouse... Cameron will rise again!! I would like to thank all of my friends (both locals and from across the country) I made in the short time down there. It was a honor and a privlege to serve with them to help this proud community in their time of need.

On another note, the day before I was due back in Virginia my father passed away. I would like to thank everybody down there for their sypmathy and well wishes. Specially California IMT 5. God Bless you all and please feel free to correspond. My e mail is

Donna LaRue Cole said...

I lived in Cameron,Iwent to South Cameron High, my kids went to school in Cameron. I have family that lived in Cameron. Also alot of friends. It just hurts me to see these pictures,and to know that everyone that I knew and loved lost everything. I GET SO TRIED OF HEARING ABOUT KATRINA(on the news),and yes Iknow that it was also a horrible thing to happen,but what about Cameron,and Port Arthur,Beaumont,and so on. Ihear alot of people asking for donations for Katrina,Well,wake up,Rita victims also need help. If anyone who reads this,and you know who Iam please e-mail me at Thank you,and God Bless You

shirley/john perry said...

Hello to all and thank you to everyone who helped or is helping in the revory effort.I was born and raised in Cameron I now live in Mouton Cove about 90 miles east of Cameron.Most of the pictures on here are my fathers property or in his neighbor hoog.I have pictures from Intercoastel to Cameron if anyones interrested.May God Bless you all.

Darla Blanchard Eaves said...

Hey Everyone from Cameron

Like to hear from all our friends. E-mail us at: or
We like receive news about Cameron and its recovery since Rit. We love and miss all of you
Darla Eaves
A former resident of Cameron due to Rita's destructioin

Rose Jones said...

Looking for Shirkey [cookie] Noel, Walter Muriel [employed zapata Haynie] Anna Bell Gauthier family. Thank you and God Bless Rose Jones I can be reached at

Anonymous said...

Fantastic blog

We also lost everything in Holly Beach We had not been back sense January this year. We went back October 28Th for a meeting that was held in Holly Beach. Things are slow but are coming back. Seen lots of old friends and lots of RV's. Was great seeing the folks returning. But theres still so much needing to be done. Also need more folks to come home. At the meeting the speaker Mr. Ernie said when the sewage passes everyone will be able to build. Even those with one lot. But State codes remain. The codes are set and will never change. This will make it very hard for people to come home. The cost of building to code just cost way to much. Also as of January 1 2007 there will be new codes added. Mr. Ernie did not know what they will be.