When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast with 225-kilometre-an-hour winds and a surge nearly two storeys tall, 300,000 homes were destroyed and 770,000 people were displaced.
Countless residents had no homes to return to. They lost everything. The site was a disaster zone. So when Larry Martin and his wife Kim tentatively returned to their home in the coastal town of Bay St Louis, which was only about 300 metres from the beach, they expected it to be a sea of debris - just like the other buildings in the area. "We thought we would come home to nothing," says Martin.
Instead, the couple was greeted with a sight they would never forget.
"We were amazed that day. Our house was actually standing," says Martin. "Compared to other homes in our area this close to the beach ...most aren't even standing. They're just obliterated."
The house survived being swamped by nine feet [2.7 metres] of water. The Martins credit this to their choice of building materials. "My wife Kim and I looked at each other and said 'I'm glad we got HardiPlank®' because there's no telling what would have happened [if we didn't]," says Martin. "The brick house down the street ... the brick collapsed."
While the neighbours are rebuilding - and piecing their lives back together - the Martins don't have to. "I'm not replacing the HardiPlank in this house," says Martin.
"This thing's intact. If it had been some other siding [weatherboard] or brick I'd probably have to replace the whole thing. If you're going to build a house, you want it to last. Invest in something that's going to make it rock solid."
Read more about this Hurricane Katrina story here.