D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - "My brother-in-law heard the chain snap and then the crashing came through the house."
Erica Sutton describes the rude awakening her family got at 4 A.M. on Friday when half of a 700-year-old great oak tree fell onto their roof.
Snapped branches and leaves were still scattered across the front lawn on Monday. It will take some time for the mess to be cleared.
"The whole roof needs to be repaired. There's some main structure damage up high. Wiring, insulation, air conditioning ducts, sheet rock, and then inside. A brand new door, porch. The whole porch is gone."
Now her mother, a widow, is trying to scrape together money to cover the repair costs. She used all of her savings to rebuild the house after Katrina tore it down. She is uninsured.
"Because of that, and the insurance premiums almost doubling, she can't afford that on a fixed income. There's just no way," said Sutton.
According to an arborist who examined the tree following the crash, the tree has been alive since the 1300s. That means when it was just an acorn, the Black Death was wreaking havoc in Europe and the Ming Dynasty ruled over China.
The tree developed an illness after Katrina and had to have a chained wrapped around it for support. Even though it destroyed their home, the family wants to see the great oak standing tall for more generations.
"We want to save the tree. This isn't just about the house because we love the tree and the memories it holds. It holds two generations; three generations of memories, and we can't let it fall. We can't let the rest of it fall," said Sutton.
No one was injured when the tree fell, and a tarp is covering part of the hole. The family is hoping it will keep the termites and the rain from getting in while they figure out how to pay for the repair.
They created a Go Fund Me page to raise money to cover the damages.