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Katrina Anniversary

I won't be able to hear the wind again, here in Baton Rouge, without thinking of the day Katrina hit Louisiana.

I shot this video in my back yard at about 7:30 am on August 29, 2005. Less than half an hour later, one of these trees came down on top of another one, snapping it off about 5 feet from ground level, making a loud cracking sound like a massive gunshot. The broken tree then fell on the power lines taking them all down. We were without power for five days after that.

In the front yard, an 80 foot water oak tree popped out of the ground and fell parallel to the house. When it came down we felt the impact come across the floor, up through the soles of our feet, causing our stomachs to bounce in a sickening way. It crushed the sidewalk, demolished our neighbor's cars and took out part of his carport. Somehow, no one was injured.

The tree lay in the driveway blocking our way out. Miraculously, we were able to get a man to come out nearly right away and cut a pathway for us. The rest of the tree, including its 10-foot diameter root ball and 4-foot diameter trunk, lay in the front yard for many days. We became quite the tourist attraction, as cars would stop and people took snapshots and videos. I told my neighbor we should make postcards and sell them at the curb for $1 each. Eventually, the rest of the tree was cut up and moved to the street where a truck with a giant claw came and took it away, but not before we got a chainsaw and cut ourselves a season's worth of fireplace logs.

The worst part? Rita hit us less than a month later, causing even more damage. A couple of trees hit the back of the house damaging the roof and burying the backyard in tree limbs. More on that another time -- I'm exhausted just remembering it all.

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