When the sun rose over the Texas-Louisiana Coast, Dave Keefer quickly jumped in his truck, driving from Houston, where he had evacuated, to his home in the enclave of Little Florida Beach, Louisiana.
"This where the damage happened," he said, marveling at the few dozen homes just a few feet away from the beach. "This is where it first hit the coast."
Keefer went to survey the damage and was surprised to find his house, miraculously left standing. Some of his neighbors were not as lucky. Roofs caved in, sheeting tossed about. If you had a travel trailer, it was spun in circles and then smashed to the ground.
"I'm taking pictures of the neighborhood now, to let everybody know, about their property," he said.
ABC13 then traveled east along the coast, dodging row after row of downed electric poles. We drove around boulders that were tossed onto the street like loose change, drove under power lines that will take months to repair, and dodged an alligator that was trying to find its way back home.
"Our heart is on the coast," said Robert Eggert, whom we met along the drive. "I love salt water, and I want to be around salt water."
Eggert lives in Holly Beach, a town directly in the path of Hurricane Laura's eye wall. When we got there, every single home was damaged to a degree. All the travel trailers were gone, houses shifted from their foundation, and devastation around every turn. But, there were some good news - all of Eggert's neighbors also evacuated, nobody rode out the storm.
"If anybody tried to ride this storm out. I think they're idiots. Insane. It would have been crazy to ride this storm out," he said.
But it's not crazy to come back. And the residents have already begun to return.
"We're used to hurricanes," said Eggert with a chuckle. "We live here. Things blow away, you get your ducks in a row, build back up, and wait for the next ones to come around."
Follow Miya Shay on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Louisiana man's home still standing after Laura rips through Gulf Coast