We just pulled up to Holly Beach, La., on the Gulf of Mexico. It was once a recreational beach. You can tell from the RVs that are now crushed and buried, upside down, in the sand.
The storm surge here must have been over our heads. Nothing here had a chance. Not the convenience store, whose cash register now sits among sea shells. Not the boat engine that, mysteriously, lies severed from its watercraft. Nearby sits a white toilet, refusing to answer questions.
There are no people here. Well, no civilians, anyway. It's a land of hard hats. Utility workers drive by in caravans of cherry pickers, restoring power lines more than a month since hurricane Rita did all this.
But there are no "survivor stories." No sifting through the wreckage or any of the other images we associate with post-disaster recovery. It's a moonscape. No one seems anxious to come back here to play -- or live -- anytime soon.
I've been to post-war Iraq and will never compare this scene to that. They're different worlds. But one sight just jogs my memory: a military checkpoint on this beach. The National Guard soldiers look tired and cold as they build a gasoline fire in the sand to keep warm.