Prayer Wall: Galveston update: Ike’s moved on, the island is closed
The near-category three storm ripped across the Texas gulf coast last night
Gone with the wind: Murdoch’s Bathhouse (1910), The Balinese Room (1929), Hooters (2006). Still standing, we hope, is UTMB’s BioSafety Level Four lab, one of only 13 in the country equipped to experiment with avian flu, hemorrhagic fever and other highly infectious organisms. But how would we ever know? CNN’s on-air stand-up celebrities wearing red raincoats point to the rubble on Seawall Boulevard that 24 hours ago was Murdoch’s, the Balinese Room and Hooters — and call it debris washed up from the ocean. Over their shoulders, those businesses have clearly vanished into thin air. Anybody think to take any video of the seawall before Ike, so you could identify the damage afterward?
The good news is that the death toll (Ike-wide) remains, for the moment, at four. Even one death is too many but we are grateful that there are no further reports of fatalities. Although, in fact, the silence out of Galveston is quite deafening to me. None of the reporters or cameras have moved much from their hotel fronts, save one KHOU TV reporter from Houston who took a short drive through the flooded streets this morning. The causeway to Galveston is closed. The BOIs (a term widely used to differentiate the very cliquey “Born On Island” folk from those not) have lifted the drawbridge. The island is in recovery mode.
The Daily News reports that the roof has blown off City Hall, rescues are underway in Fish Village and the West End and fires are burning around town. KHOU TV just now reports 10 houses lost to fire and 17 buildings collapsed, including two apartment buildings. Most of the city remains flooded, including the historic district. We don’t have any idea of the damage at this point.
As I reflect on this disaster, I’m reminded of a tin sign I purchased in the Lone Star State some years ago:
Texas ain’t no place for amateurs
No, it surely isn’t. And Galvestonians are anything but.
Beverley Wood is a winter Texan who believes she has spent many lifetimes in Galveston, some even as a BOI.