As they sifted through the wreckage of their childhood home in Mount Airy, Louisiana, members of the Robinson family were hunting for memories.
They came in the form of a dozen family photo albums, somehow preserved amid the rubble. There was nothing much else to salvage as most of the house was destroyed. It had been in the family for generations, built and preserved with toil and hard work.
Judy Robinson, 70, had raised her two children here, working as a plant operator at a nearby Marathon Oil refinery and then living on income support as a retiree.
Her daughter, Gayle Robinson, struggled as she watched Judy’s reaction to seeing home for the first time since Hurricane Ida struck seven days ago.
“I have never seen her look how she looked,” she said, outside in the oppressive heat. “Confused. Lost for words. It’s like someone threw a grenade into the house.”
As cable news channels pivoted away from Ida’s destruction in south-east Louisiana over the weekend, the storm only a week into history, thousands of people, including the Robinson family, were still coming to terms with a new reality.