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Sara Hock, 11, poses for a portrait in her bedroom window. Sarah was at school during the tornado, while her father, Brian Hock, took shelter. (for NPR)

Faces And Places The Tornado Left Behind

by Claire O'Neill
May 24, 2013

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Claire O'Neill

It's been four days since the tornado blazed through Moore, Okla. And while the initial shock may be abating for some, the hardest part lies ahead for people who live there. Residents of subdivisions like Heatherwood, located about a mile east of Moore, are facing piles of rubble where their houses once stood. The question on their minds — after "Why?" — is "Now what?"

Photographer Katie Hayes Luke has been on assignment for NPR this week and gathered a few portraits of people in that neighborhood.

"I'd never seen destruction like that before," she says, "so walking into a wasteland at first was kind of overwhelming. ... They all seemed kind of dazed."

What was even more surprising, she says, was "how upbeat people are." Like Damon and Kristi Mabry, who somehow couldn't seem to stop smiling. That was partly because, Luke says, over the course of their brief conversation, about five volunteer cars drove by offering assistance.

"We talked a lot about ... the outpouring of assistance they've gotten," says Luke.

Her portraits show what — or rather, who — remains in the neighborhood. And for most, amid the rubble, it's a mix of fear, disbelief and resilience.

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