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Resident: 'All I found was a shoe'

Beach homes in Ocean Springs, Mississippi leveled

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BILOXI, Mississippi (CNN) -- Hurricane Katrina left a trail of devastation across southeastern Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf Coast Monday.

As night fell, more than 1.3 million homes and businesses were without electricity, according to utility companies in the region. For some people, like Suzanne Rodgers, the day offered a rude awakening.

CNN's Paula Zahn spoke with her about what she saw.

ZAHN: When do you think you might be able to go home?

RODGERS: Well, I actually went home about an hour and a half ago. And there is no home to go to. The apartment complex that I lived in, which is on the beach in Ocean Springs, is totally leveled. There's nothing there anymore.

ZAHN: Totally leveled?

RODGERS: Not as much as...

ZAHN: Totally lost?

RODGERS: Totally lost. Totally lost. We actually had to park about three blocks away and walk as far as we could walk to the -- where I lived at. And there's nothing there. They're gone. It's all rubble. There's nothing left.

And my neighbors had just built a big beautiful home -- million-dollar home. And it is gone. All the homes on the beach in Biloxi -- in Ocean Springs, excuse me -- are gone.

And then, when I left there, after we viewed that -- I have nothing left now -- we went to Biloxi. We rode over to Biloxi to see about my mother, where my mother lives. And the water -- the rivers have swollen in north Biloxi so bad that you can't get through to drive over there.

So we drove to where the casinos are. The casinos appear to be still standing. Of course, you know, I don't know about the water and the tidal surges. But there are -- there are like 18 wheelers on top of cars and homes in the middle of the streets. And there's people wandering down the streets with nowhere to go, homeless. They've got maybe a bag over their shoulder, and they're all in the middle of the streets, with nowhere to go. And the homes, houses and boats and cars are just -- debris is just everywhere. It's just -- it's very catastrophic down here. It reminds me of Camille.

ZAHN: We should help the audience understand, you're talking about a storm that packed 135-mile-per-hour winds. But help us understand...

RODGERS: Yes.

ZAHN: ... the construction of an apartment building, where the whole thing went out to sea? You said there's absolutely nothing left?

RODGERS: There's nothing left. All I found that belonged to me was a shoe.

ZAHN: A shoe?

RODGERS: A shoe. That was it. And a chair that I had put inside of my apartment. I lived on the bottom floor. This was a two-story brick building that I lived in. And it was very nice. Of course we were on the beach. And there is nothing left. There's nothing left. There's -- there's debris hanging from trees. And there's homes that were -- that [withstood] Camille, actually 'stood Camille. The homes that 'stood Camille didn't stand this hurricane. They're gone. They're absolutely gone.

And the home that I was telling you about that my friends had just built, it was just -- it was just extremely gorgeous. And it was two stories and a beautiful home, stucco. It was made of stucco brick. And gone.

ZAHN: Nothing left of it either.

RODGERS: Nothing but -- nothing, nothing left.

ZAHN: Suzanne, what are you standing in front of now? What's behind you?

RODGERS: I'm standing in front of the Comfort Inn. This is where I work. And we got pretty beat up last night also. Today, this morning.

ZAHN: Well, we could see from the pictures when you were standing next to that window -- that made me very nervous. What are you going to do now, Suzanne? Where are you going to live?

RODGERS: Well, I've got family that live in Jackson. I've got a sister up there. But I'm, you know, presently worried about a younger sister of mine who stayed near the beach this morning. And like, we have no power, and no phone, no way to call. And you know, my family probably -- they don't know if I'm OK or not. They're all in Jackson. My children are in Jackson. And one is in Destin, Florida. And...

ZAHN: Well, I'm hoping they have power tonight so they can see that you're OK, that you've survived, and...

RODGERS: Yes, right.

ZAHN: ... seemingly undaunted by the challenge that lies ahead. We are so sorry, Suzanne. And we really appreciate...

RODGERS: Well...

ZAHN: ... your dropping by to explain to us just how powerful this storm was.

RODGERS: Yes, it was very, very powerful. I can remember Camille. But I can never remember Camille doing what it did to the north side of the Highway 90. You know, a lot of damage was up front. But it's devastating.

ZAHN: Yes, unfortunately -- yeah, they're unfortunately saying this could end up being the most devastating hurricane of all. Suzanne Rodgers, good luck.

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