This week Mama Kat asked us to describe a natural disaster that we had experienced.
The combined impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita carved a swath of devastation from Galveston into the Florida panhandle. In Texas alone, 113 deaths were attributed to Hurricane Rita. Residents of these areas were without electricity for weeks, and food, water, and gas supplies were severely limited.
At the time Cady was nine months old. We evacuated with my mother, my grandparents, and my aunt’s family along with over 2.5 million other people. It was the largest evacuation that has ever occurred in the United States. My father in law and my uncle stayed to ride out the storm. They both said it was one of the most terrifying experience of their lives.
After the storm passed at least 25% of the trees in our area alone were downed. Driving through the area afterward was like looking at where God had walked. Massive trees ripped from the ground or snapped in two like toothpicks, and most of those had crushed homes in the process of falling.
While Hurricane Rita brought the wind, Ike brought the water. Though Ike was a category two storm, the surge was that of a category four. It washed over Galveston, the Bolivar Peninsula (where my photos in the video were taken), and rushed into Bridge City, Orange, Port Arthur, and Nederland. Under the pounding power of the waves, hundreds of yards of beach was eroded, forever reshaping the coastline.
On Bolivar Peninsula, 80 – 95% of homes were washed out to sea. After the storm the mayor of Bridge City said there were only two dozen homes that did not suffer storm surge damage. The death toll in the United States due to the storm exceeded 100 people, and some residents of Bolivar Peninsula that chose to ride out the storm, as they had done others in the past, still remain unaccounted for.
But this is not a message of tragedy. This is a message of hope. Our area banded together, neighbor helping neighbor, and we have rebuilt all that we had lost. As the east coast faces a tragedy our area has lived through many times, I offer the following advice… Mourn your loss, pray for one another, and band together to rebuild what you have lost. After the disaster, I recommend a philosophy that Gulf Coast residents have practiced from Brownsville to the Florida keys… Cowboy up.