It was a crushing one-two combination. In the fall of 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita beat down the Gulf Coast within weeks of each other, leaving splinters of devastation in the wake of their Category 5 forces.
It didn’t take long after the floodwaters receded from New Orleans and surrounding communities for the phone to start ringing at Hercules Fence. One call became a deluge, and for the next three years the fence replacement jobs kept the Lake Charles, Louisiana company working nearly double-time days, with their mechanical earth drills setting thousands of holes. Company owner Charles Harris never appreciated their dependability, power and versatility more than he did in the aftermath of the storms.
Six Decades of Posts
Hercules is a family-owned business that has been installing fences for more than 60 years. There was a time when the work suited the name: crew members dug all the holes by hand, muscling through the toughest soils with manual augers. But for nearly five decades now, Little Beaver mechanical earth drills have been driving the company’s installations because of the drills’ power, reliability and safety. Today, Hercules owns three MDL-8H mechanical drills and uses them for chain link, ornamental, wood and vinyl fences on residential and commercial projects. They’re the most efficient option for bread-and-butter jobs that cover 200-600 feet of fence with 30-60 holes that are 3 feet deep.
Hercules does more expansive commercial and industrial projects, too, installations as long as 25,000 feet that require as many as 2,500 holes up to 12 inches in diameter and 42 inches deep. Because of the sheer scope of the jobs, the crew uses a skid steer equipped with a drill to do the bulk of the digging work. Even for those larger and more challenging projects, the small but mighty Little Beaver machines never get left behind. That’s because for areas with soft soils, a skid steer may get stuck but a couple of workers can get in with a mechanical drill, do the work and get out again.
Workers Use Drills With Skills While Putting Others First
Because of the tremendous amount of devastation from sister hurricanes, Hercules Fence once again turned to the Little Beaver to help them quickly complete the many landscaping projects on their list. The destruction started with Hurricane Katrina, which not only destroyed businesses, homes and infrastructure in the area; it also took out nearly every fence. Making an already horrible situation worse, Rita blew through a couple of weeks later adding to the destruction, even claiming Harris’ own house.
Despite their own devastating losses, Harris and his crew members helped others rebuild. Over the year and a half following Rita, they replaced fences that provided hard-hit residents and companies with the extra measure of privacy and security they’d lost. It was a huge undertaking, but day in and day out, the crew of three men put all three of their Little Beaver drills to work.
The highly efficient Little Beaver drills rotate at up to 360 rpm to quickly bring spoil to the surface and leave clean holes. The fast operation allowed the Hercules crew to work quickly so they could complete as many projects as possible each day. And with the torque tube, one person could safely operate each drill, even when digging with large diameter augers, without getting fatigue from drill kickback.
Hercules and their drills were again put to the test almost three years to the day after Rita roared through, when Hurricane Ike pounded the Lake Charles area. It took more than a year, but once again the Hercules crew worked long days to restore the area’s fences.
Since then the workday hours have backed down to their normal eight, and Harris found the time to rebuild in Lake Charles. The threat of a hurricane will be there every year. But if and when the next hurricane throws some punches, Hercules will be there, armed with Little Beaver mechanical earth drills to sink the holes and put the pieces back together.