Two years ago Huricane Ike made landfall into Galveston. We were forewarned and well prepared. The evacuations were organised and orderly. Ike had been a good teacher. The storm hit Galveston and Bolivar Pennisiular with all his furry, a 16 foot storm surge damaged almost 100% of the structures and severely damaged or destroyed 80%. We here at Casa Libertad evacuated safely to the Woodlands which is 75 miles north and inland from here. When we made it back we weren’t allowed to use the municpal sewage system because it was inoperable. The causeway was a canyon of refuse and wreckage, Our neighborhood was lucky, There was only 4 feet of water in our homes. Others fared much worse.
Today the Island Island is alive with hope, most of the people have returned. This weekend after Labor day is traditionally the weekend that we take our Island back, the beaches are ours, and traffic is easy. This year it was even more special. We have taken our Island back and an we aren’t in mourning but in celebration. A flash mob formed yesterday in celebration with Mayor Joe leading the dancing ..
You say 4 ft made you one of the lucky ones – 4 ft. in a one level home means destruction of all inside, from the floors to the furniture to the walls – there is no “lucky” in a situation like that. Even if you did have anything which may have been salvageable, 2 weeks in exile and the resultant mold and decay made restoration impossible in most cases. In a way, the luckiest were the few that burned to the ground, as they were able to start again completely, and clean, while elevating their homes to prevent as much damage in the future. Insurance is designed for the benefit of the insurance company, and no one “made out” in this deal. The insurance company’s ideas of making you whole meant paying for the bottom half of the home – don’t know about you, but the bottom half supports the top in my home, and you can’t replace half without replacing the other half! And living nearly a year in “exile” during rebuilding does not lend itself to health and well being.
The only “lucky” part was the fact that there were not severe injuries nor loss of life, though many still suffer from their own form of “post traumatic stress disorders”.
You’re right about one thing though, Galveston is coming back, and will be a great vacation and weekend venue for generations to come. Those of us who live here full time, however, may need to rethink a second residence to protect ourselves and our sanity.