After the disaster

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.

hurricane, living in Texas, Texan, hurricane Ike, hurricane Rita, beach, kids, children, parenting, being a mom

Attributes for photos included in the video:
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Coast Guard
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kittell via photopin cc

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  1. such a detailed and thoughtful perspective. <3
    Robbie recently posted…Strange Things are AfootMy Profile

  2. I can’t imagine living through a natural disaster.
    Jen recently posted…The Perfect PictureMy Profile

  3. There are some things only those who’ve walked that path can say.
    Maggie S. recently posted…Thoughts On the VoteMy Profile

  4. Wow! Those images are so powerful. I cannot believe so many people had to suffer like that. This was a great vlog–keep ‘em coming.

  5. That was a wonderful vlog. Thank you for sharing.

  6. This was such a moving blog and vlog. Thanks for sharing with us, Jennifer.
    Amiyrah recently posted…Pour Your Heart Out – Bus Stop WitchesMy Profile

  7. There are some things we have absolutely NO control over and this is one of those things. I cannot imagine being devastated like those who suffer through natural disasters like these but I adore your advice.

    Wonderful vlog, my dear.
    Elaine recently posted…A "Cher Bebe" Kinda PartyMy Profile

  8. Band together and rebuild is perfect. There is way too much blaming and shouting about a certain area not getting enough media attention in the NY/NJ area. They definitely need to cowboy up.

    We lived in Wilmington, NC for several years and went through several hurricanes while we were there. Hurricanes are scary powerful things.

    I have also been through way too many blizzards and ice storms too count. And they are incredible.

    What frightens me the most though is a tornado. I give those people all my credit.

    Beautiful vlog.

    I would pass it on to my in laws who have been whining in NJ for the past week, but I am sure she would be offended.

    • Most of us down here are watching the complaints and going, “wha’?” Yeah. It is hard to understand. And I can promise you that we never got free gas or anything like that. We worked together, cleaned up the mess, and got on with life. Like pretty much every other area that has been through a horrible disaster. Joplin anyone? I’m sure those folks would say the same thing.

  9. As much as Michigan sucks (most of the time), I’m just so thankful that we don’t typically have natural disasters of that sort. So tragic.
    Kmama recently posted…Proud Mommy Moments: A Monumental MilestoneMy Profile

    • Now see, I could never, ever handle the snow. For us that’s a show stopper. We are just not equipped to handle snow or ice. Thankfully we don’t get either one very often.

  10. Wow… I can’t even begin to imagine dealing with all that. I’m having a hard enough time with Sandy and Athena right now. Thanks for the advice! Good to know as we recover right now.
    April B. recently posted…And the Weather Hits Keep Coming…My Profile

  11. A great message. Where did your father-in-law and uncle stay? Was your house totally ruined? Do you have this story somewhere that I can read about it?

    Praise the Lord we made it through the Frankenstorm without even losing electricity. A lot of rain here in South Central PA, and no bread in the grocery stores; but no major damage.
    Jendi recently posted…Blog Name Secrets RevealedMy Profile

    • I don’t have the story anywhere else. I wasn’t blogging at the time. Either time actually.

      They were both in their homes. A tree fell on my father-in-law’s house, but thankfully he wasn’t hurt. He left after the storm blew through and went to stay with family. My uncle had a lot of damage to his property, but not his home. Although, he did develop pneumonia in the days following the hurricane because the air was different (brings a lot of different allergens) added with the smoke from cleaning up and the heat. The heat was afterward was next to unbearable.

      We were very, very fortunate. With Rita, we lost our fence and several trees. One ripped the electrical service off our house (very nice being married to an electrician), but none fell on our house. They actually fell on our neighbors homes. The exact same thing happened with Ike. Well we had one small tree fall on the house, but it just messed up a few shingles that we fixed easily. Both times it was pretty surreal because all of the homes around ours had some form of damage, and with Rita, a lot of it was significant. Oh, and we lost our freezer with Rita. We weren’t able to get back into town for… sheesh, like two weeks. Meat in a freezer for two weeks with 100+ temps? That is not a good combo.