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Hurricane Laura leaves Lake Charles demolished, community reflects and rebuilds

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LAKE CHARLES - Hurricane Laura slammed southwest Louisiana over a week ago as a Category 4 storm, but for some, the recovery process is just beginning.

The storm was one of the most powerful to strike the Gulf Coast in decades and Lake Charles endured the brunt of the storm's eyewall.

Demolished homes, unrecognizable remnants and debris cover the town. For many, the aftermath of Hurricane Laura is simply overwhelming.

"It's just gut-wrenching," Lake Charles native, Susan Williams said.

Susan Williams says she is grateful her father wasn't inside of the home he uses as an office when the storm annihilated it. Two trees crashed through the roof, leaving the office space indistinguishable.

"One [tree] went completely through it and came out the driveway. It's totaled. You know, everything's gone," Williams said.

The home that Williams once lived in is now punctured battered and broken, like so many others in her hometown.

"My husband was here Sunday. He's been overseas in the war and he just said, 'Susie it looks like a war zone.' It does. Trees everywhere, powerlines down," Williams said.

Those powerlines are laced across streets, seemingly roping off sidewalks.

Crews have worked around the clock to return power for those attempting to clear the debris.

"It seems everything we own, there's some sort of damage. From big to small, we've got stuff that's flooded out. We're completely gutting because losses of roofs," local Justin Babineaux said.

Justin Babineaux owns dozens of properties throughout Calcasieu Parish, some that were completely destroyed in the storm. He says many are unsure where to begin as they assess damages.

"It's a different way of living for so many people now, and moving forward, it's not like it's just going to happen overnight, you know," Babineaux said.

With power and restoration expected to take a few weeks, Babineaux says he and others need to only do what they can.

"You hear people say take one day at a time. Literally, this is when you have to take one day at a time," Babineaux said.

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