Epic's headquarters in Harvey, La., two weeks after Hurricane Katrina.

The hurricane snaked under the roof, blowing ceiling tiles into offices and spitting bricks out of an exterior wall.

Epic was luckier than many businesses in the New Orleans area. Its building could be repaired, and the company found a contractor quickly.

If everything went as planned, construction would take two months. But Epic's return to Harvey hinged on phone service, which could take even longer.

Many of the construction workers arrived from Florida, where they had been rebuilding homes and businesses damaged by last year's powerful storms.

After returning to Harvey, Epic COO Roger Rodriguez felt cut off from the company, which had relocated to Houston. "We could just as soon be in Nigeria."

Even though the staff packed up much of the office before Katrina hit, they couldn't take every file, every blueprint, every picture.

Julie Rodriguez, president and CEO of Epic Divers & Marine, in the company's Houston office.

Even as she told her employees to report to Houston, six hours from Harvey, Rodriguez worried about the toll it would take.

Within days of arriving in Houston, someone attached a sticky note to Rodriguez's make-shift desk that said, "FROM THE PENTHOUSE TO THE OUTHOUSE."

Epic found itself in great demand to inspect pipelines possibly damaged by the storm. The challenge was finding available divers and equipment.

John Herron, director of diving operations, shared a Houston hotel during the week. On weekends, he and his wife stayed with friends in Baton Rouge.

Mike Simoneaux, IT manager, feared for New Orleans as he built a server in Houston. "Your heart's somewhere else, but you have to be practical."

All around her, Rodriguez could see the impact of Katrina. Even her dog Jetta was depressed. A vet in Houston prescribed Valium.

At a staff meeting in September, Rodriguez assures the staff they would return to Harvey soon -- "if you can just hang on a little longer."

A diving applicant waits for a job interview at the Houston office. Epic began recruiting to keep up with business fueled by Katrina.

Rodriguez and John Lariviere, director of projects and a former diver. Although Rodriguez has never dived, she's not intimidated by the macho culture.

Lariviere spent a week calling to find a supply boat. The storm destroyed countless vessels. "It's never been this hard," he said.

Daybreak aboard Gulf Dream, the supply boat hired by Epic.

Two weeks after slamming the coast, Katrina continued to disrupt the supply chain. Epic's supply boat waited nine hours for groceries and diving gas.