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.

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3 Responses to “Prayer Wall: Galveston update: Ike’s moved on, the island is closed”

  1. I didn’t remember the Balinese Room until we looked at the website. Wow. Chris and I remembered it right off the bat. Jeanette’s Pier was a haunt for me in days past… in Nags Head, NC. It’s gone now, as well, courtesy a hurricane.

    I would agree with that tin sign.


  2. My uncle (Jimmy Little) is the owner of the Mermaid Pier and Murdoch’s bathhouse. The shops have been in our family since before 1910 when Guyette’s Gift Shop was inside the bathhouse itself. The family is safe and I can guarantee that they will rebuild. But for now please keep them, and all the Galveston residents in your prayers.

  3. Brian,

    I am so sorry for the loss of your families wonderful and important Galveston landmarks! My family owns two businesses on the Strand and we haven’t seen but a couple photos of what’s happened there; we don’t know if the water has gone down.

    Prayers to all!