now I'm confused, if you have cable why do you have a cable box?
"Normally" cable TV needs a cable box. Depending on the TV what you get by hooking the cable directly to the back of the TV will vary. The minimum would be only those channels between cable 2 and cable 13 that are non-digital and not scrambled and only when the TV is setup for NTSC (as opposed to ATSC). If the TV has a CATV tuner setting in addition to NTSC and ATSC then you may get a number of other unscrambled channeles.
Tornado victims: Do not rush to rebuild. Take your time and look for and get a good contractor. Or consider selling the property and moving to a home that is ready to live in.