PANAMA CITY - For people viewing them in New Orleans, the images are as familiar as they are widespread. They are images that can only be created by the passing of a hurricane.
Nowhere are the images starker or the devastation more apparent than on Mexico Beach. Michael took aim at the small beach town and unleashed most of its destructive force there.
Travel in and around the area that took the direct hit was almost impossible after Michael passed.
Now, one month after hurricane Michael made landfall, all that's left in Mexico Beach, are the remnants of people's lives.
There are stairways that no longer lead to homes, kitchen appliances and utensils, and photographs that all litter the area. Lost in the scope of the devastation are thousands of stories like Michael Cannon’s as he recalled the sound of the creaking and cracking of metal.
“I was really scared for my life," he said.
Michael and some of his family didn't have the means to evacuate and could only find safety in a brick building during the calm when the eye was passing over.
"I got my dog and my son, and we ran up to the church through the rest of the storm,” he said.
Before and after photographs show what was once home and is now only fragments.
"It looks like God took his hand and went whoosh,” he said. “The street signs are gone and you don’t know because it looks totally different. There’s a park I used to take my grandson to… and it’s not there anymore.”
With their trailer being rendered unlivable, Michael and his family now find themselves huddled in a series of tents, shrouded behind walls of canvas.
On his makeshift bed, a Holy Bible, and a space heater positioned next to him, we got a look at how he and his family are now living.
Michael has an optimism that becomes contagious while talking with him and he can put a positive spin on even the worst scenario.
"Parts of it is not all bad. Sometimes it sucks. You wish you were inside a house. You wish you didn't have a skylight in your shower. I'm probably the only person that can look at the stars when they bathe."
They have contacted the federal government about getting a more suitable living space while they start to rebuild. the rebuilding process.
"We filed an appeal with FEMA for a trailer and they've talked to my wife twice, but they haven't given us any definite answer."
The wait continues.
"We're hoping for a FEMA trailer is what we're hoping,” he said. “A three-bedroom would be awesome."
According to FEMA's website, over 25,000 applications for individual assistance have been approved in Florida, however they don't mention the number requests for trailers or how many have been distributed.
"You will find a way to survive, you'll make do, you'll find a way,” he said.
But, he knows it won’t be easy, especially with finances.
“We're both working full time, and this is what we've got to do until we get a place. We're just a normal family, a regular family minding our own business and then here comes hurricane Michael and takes it all away – you have to move on.”
Moving on, but not moving away. Hurricane Michael devastated Mexico Beach, but wasn't strong enough to wash away Michael Cannon's concept of "home."