ORANGE, Texas – Debris, snapped polls and downed trees are now a familiar sight in the small city of Orange, Texas. Hours before Hurricane Laura tore through southeast Texas.
The tales of Laura’s fury can start to be told with a simple drive down 16th street. People are gathered to deal with the aftermath of the devastating storm Thursday morning.
The sunshine, though, proved that the sun does shine.
Among the apparent debris were helping hands, volunteers who traveled near and far to help homeowners manage the cleanup.
“Get everybody else situated because we’re fine. We have lights and everything we need. They don’t,” said volunteer Jesse Basham.
Basham drove 1.5 hours over to Orange to help homeowners like George Lambing cut and clear trees from their neighborhood’s roads.
For Lambing, his homecoming was not so sweet.
“I did notice the two trees. One on my garage and one on my storage unit,” he said.
Two pine trees uprooted and topple over his home and shed, ripping through his roof near the dining room. Lambing said his teenage son won’t be able to drive the BMW, he was fixing up for him because a tree now lays on top of it. However, this family said they are lucky.
“Can’t replace life,” Lambing said simply.
Down the road, the open gas station with no gas has turned to a gathering space rich with stories.
“There’s a tree in my house, and I’m having to cut three trees out of my driveway,” said resident Austin Bean.
Debrah Walker didn’t see Laura, but she heard it.
“We were in the motel, upstairs near the window. I thought the window was going to cave in, but it didn’t,” Walker laughed.
Austin Bean did see it.
“I was sitting at the kitchen table when it crashed into the house,” Bean said, now smiling.
Orange, the easternmost city of Texas on the other side of the Sabine River, got hit the hardest in the state.
However, like everything else, these neighbors will tell you, perspective is key.
“I didn’t get hit by a tree so that’s pretty good,” Bean said.