Monday, September 26, 2005

Casket in a tree thanks to Rita

A casket is stuck in a tree surrounded by floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Rita Monday in Grand Chenier. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

"Hurricane Rita's path of devastation along the Texas-Louisiana coast became shockingly clear Monday, as rescuers pulled stranded bayou residents out on skiffs and Army helicopters searched for thousands of cattle feared drowned. Crews struggled to clean up the tangle of smashed homes and downed trees. The hurricane slammed low-lying fishing villages, shrimping ports and ranches with water up to 9 feet deep. Seawater pushed as far as 20 miles inland, drowning acres of rice, sugarcane fields and pasture ... The death toll from the second devastating hurricane in a month rose to nine with the discovery in a Beaumont, Texas, apartment of five people - a man, a woman and three children - who apparently were killed by carbon monoxide from a generator they were running indoors after Rita knocked out the electricity. A Texas couple was confirmed killed by an uprooted tree that fell on their home. Houses in the marshland between Cameron and Creole were reduced to piles of bricks, or bare concrete slabs with steps leading to nowhere. Walls of an elementary school gymnasium had been washed or blown away, leaving basketball hoops hanging from the ceiling. A single-story white home was propped up against a line of trees, left there by floodwaters that ripped it from its foundation. A bank was open to the air, its vault still intact."

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