About this blog

Andrew Locke and Bob Sullivan

From Sept. 22-27, the posts in this blog about Rita's evacuation and devastation were reported and photographed by Bob Sullivan and Andrew Locke. Sullivan, 37, is MSNBC.com's technology and consumer fraud reporter. Locke, 34, in charge of MSNBC.com's editorial strategy, was on his second hurricane blog tour.

David Friedman and Miguel Llanos

From Sept. 18-22, the posts in this blog, examining Katrina's impact on the environment, were reported and photographed by Miguel Llanos and David Friedman. Llanos, 45, is MSNBC.com's environmental reporter. Photojournalist Friedman, 35, is a multimedia producer at MSNBC.com.

Kari Huus and Jim Seida

From Sept. 10-16, the posts in this blog were reported and photographed by Kari Huus and Jim Seida. Huus, 43, has been a journalist for 20 years and a reporter with MSNBC.com since 1996. Seida, 39, has been a media editor with the Web site since 1996.

Mike Brunker and Andrew Locke mugshot

From Sept. 2-9, the posts in this blog were reported and photographed by Mike Brunker, left, and Andrew Locke. A journalist for 25 years, Brunker, 49, is MSNBC.com's West Coast news editor. Locke, 34, has been a journalist for 17 years and is currently in charge of MSNBC.com's editorial media strategy.

How you can help

How to help the victims of Hurricane Rita

How to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina

'There's nothing left'

Posted: Tuesday, September 27 at 08:09 am CT by Bob Sullivan

CAMERON PARISH, La. -- Swamp boat driver Carlos Robicheaux didn't want to be here. But then, he did.

"I don't like what I see. But it's good I am seeing this as it is,” he said. “My friends will all be talking about this for years. But I saw it for myself."

Early on Monday, Robicheaux made his way out toward Cameron Parish with his swamp boat. Then he spent the day shuttling people around -- politicians, homeowners, reporters -- to inspect the destruction. The experience had him a bit shaken.

"There's just nothing out there. There’s nothing left," he says, repeatedly, at least 15 times in one five-minute stretch. "Whole communities were there. There's just nothing out there."

Refrigerators, farm gear, livestock -- they are all scattered about for miles, he says. As we talk, the stench of a dead cow, piled under wet hay, grows stronger.

"It's like if you took a roll of toilet paper, got it really wet, and threw it against a tree. You know how it smashes into a million pieces all over the place?" he says. "That's what this is like."

He tells me about nearby Holly Beach, a resort town with 500 homes and a shopping mall. There's nothing left of it.

"Everything that was in a house is out of the house," he said. “And every house is gone."

Storm surge is the culprit, he adds. No wind, no hurricane could do this damage -- only a wall of water, swishing back and forth water in a tub, could do this. He points to the wheels of a piece of farm equipment. One passenger this morning thought he recognized the wheels. Before the hurricane, they were sitting 10 miles away, Robicheaux says.

Old-timers compare the devastation to that of Hurricane Audry, which hit in 1957 and killed over 600 people.

"Back then we didn't have televisions to warn us," he says.

And so far, remarkably, there are no reported deaths. But having seen what he's seen, Robicheaux is skeptical.

"They say nobody died in this. Well, I don't believe it."


Email this EMAIL THIS


Trackbacks are links to weblogs that reference this post. Like comments, trackbacks do no appear until approved by us. The trackback URL for this post is: https://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451b0aa69e200d8346283ee53ef