Ike, You Bastard

Houston gets hit with big one

Despite ferocious wishing and fervent prayers, Ike still decided to slam into Galveston and Houston and a large part of Southeast Texas. Destruction was ­widespread.

Including at the Houston Press, which was flooded and without power even after much of downtown got back online. Apparently a drain clogged on the roof, water backed up to the height of four feet and at that point it commenced to rain throughout the building. On all the electronics, the notes, the CDs — you get the picture. A perfect storm of bad dumb luck. So as we put this together, there is only the most basic stuff to offer. But we've got plenty of pictures, and if there's one thing hurricanes are good for, it's dramatic ­pictures.

Highlight moments from the Storm:

The swell was anything but, as these photos from Bayland Marina attest.
Daniel Kramer
The swell was anything but, as these photos from Bayland Marina attest.
This image was taken from the balcony of UH Downtown, whose outdoor power outlets made our online slideshow possible. Thanks, UHD. We seriously appreciate it.
Daniel Kramer
This image was taken from the balcony of UH Downtown, whose outdoor power outlets made our online slideshow possible. Thanks, UHD. We seriously appreciate it.

Heights Ups and Downs

It took only 17 hours from the time the lights went out Friday night in the Heights on Bayland Avenue for power to come back on. And all of sudden it flipped from hurricane hell to Mardi Gras. People were whooping and cheering and high-fiving their neighbors. On Saturday and Sunday nights, neighbors hosted parties and basked in the glow of their chandeliers and A/C. Listening to the general suffering in Houston on the radio, this little corner of the city felt pretty good.

How do we know all this? Well, virtually every home on the street got power except for me and my neighbor. Every celebratory glass of wine carried past our house was rubbing in the fact that we were almost the only ones on the block sweating it out with the rest of the city and counting the seconds until the last cube of ice melted and the final slice of bread disappeared into our stomachs.

Ugh. — Chris Vogel

Puppy Love

One of the places Centerpoint Energy crews — brought into the city to get the power back on — were overnighting was at the Hilton Hotel Americas downtown. A command desk was set up at the front of the delightfully air-conditioned hotel. Families were also pouring in to fill up the pricey rooms. A limited buffet was offered — deli meats and salad — at the unlimited price of $17 a person.

Meanwhile, on a ride up the elevator, a mom with her two rambunctious boys got on. She looked fondly at them and said, "When we get to the room, there's going to be showers. Y'all smell like outdoor puppies." — Margaret Downing

Annoyance in Westbury

Much of the Westbury area, like the rest of the Houston area, was full of fallen trees in the aftermath of Ike.

Personally speaking, the Connelly family came through Ike all right — a ­corrugated-metal canopy in the backyard collapsed, some siding flew off from the house, but that was about it. No trees fell on the house (indeed, most of the downed neighborhood trees seemed to miss houses), and my wife and kid even managed to sleep through the worst.

But then there was the pool.

I'd drained it before Ike, and managed to drain just barely enough. As we checked things out Saturday, water was lapping at the very edge of the top.

With power out, there was only one way to go — a bucket brigade. My kid and I grabbed some buckets, filled them from the pool and walked them out to the driveway to dump, so we wouldn't ruin the grass. (That request came from my wife.)

We got the level down enough. Until that goddamn cold front came through.

So as dawn broke Sunday morning, with huge sheets of rain pouring down, there we were — three of us, my wife and I knee-deep in the pool, my kid bending down from the side (ah, to have a young back again), furiously bailing out over the side (take that, grass!) like shipwrecked sailors in a leaking lifeboat.

It's nothing, of course, compared to what others went through and are still going through.

But it is a helluva way to start a day. — Richard Connelly

Trouble in Sugar Land

Nasty fire ants and big snakes. Thanks to Hurricane Ike and then its afterbirth of rain Sunday morning, not only humans are looking for higher ground. Fire ants have taken flight, while underneath snakes of impressive length — 20 feet and more — are looking for refuge.

Meanwhile, power remained out at most residences and businesses in the county, which meant while refrigerators and freezers were giving up the ghost, people weren't able to go out to eat. What was driven home was even if you were able to charge your cell phone in the car, you couldn't call or text anyone because the reception was so bad.

Some folks jumped right on clearing up the debris in their yards, and tried to prop up the fencing — others just went wow and headed for their coolers. In the great scheme of things, who can tell who was closer to God?

Hightower High School's T-shacks in Missouri City took a direct hit, and its tennis court fence was pretty crumpled. Over at rival Elkins High, it looked like there was a lot less damage — at least to the outside of the school.

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