Galveston TX – February 2009

I spent a long weekend in Galveston, tagging along with Clint taking Lilly to the Mardi Gras children’s parade, exploring some of the incredible historic neighborhoods in the once-shining star of the Texas coast, and reveling in the mini-NOLA Mardis Gras festivities. I’ve really come to enjoy this little town in the years that he’s lived there, as it’s full of charm, history, determination, tragedy, hope, and some excellent examples of urban decay.

Gallery slideshow here.

Neighborhoods after the storm

Clint and Christi’s neighborhood via satellite before and after Ike. Most of the houses and trees look intact (including theirs) which is good. It looks like the floodwaters have started to recede, too.

The seawall seems to have done its job and protected Galveston proper from the full power of the ocean. The pyramid-shaped buildings at Moody Gardens all appear fine, the NOAA facility still has roofs on all its turtle sanctuaries, and even our Starbucks building on the harbor side looks intact.

This is at 23rd and Seawall Blvd, the site of some gift shops on piers and the Balinese Room, a historic nightclub. Stretching beyond the seawall and straight into the surf, these did not fare so well:

Out on the Bolivar Peninsula where houses were built right on the beach with no seawall or elevation to protect them, the difference is much more dramatic. This is at Crystal Beach (see yesterday’s map).

After images from NOAA Satellite imaging, before images from Google Earth. Click here for the full NOAA catalog of Ike-related imagery (warning, the full-size images are very large).

News from Galveston – as slow as the recovery.

As the news media is still banned from much of Galveston Island, the updates (and especially the pictures and video) are coming very slowly. It’s unprecedented that the authorities would block access like this, so either it 1) is horrific and they’re trying to prevent a panicked reaction in the dislocated population (such as abandoning the town) or 2) doesn’t appear bad on the surface and might lead residents to move back too early and put themselves at risk.

I’ve been scraping together what images I could find from all over the web. My apologies to anyone that I failed to credit properly for a photo – please let me know and I’ll rectify. I re-hosted them because I was worried they’d move or be pulled down.

First, here’s a map with some of the places talked about in the news. My friends lived about 8 blocks south of Downtown Galveston.

And then, some of the pictures I’ve found so far (there really aren’t many out there yet). These are all from Friday, results of the early storm surges that landed before Hurricane Ike actually hit Galveston early Saturday morning:

And then, what little has been reported since Saturday afternoon, after Ike swept through the area on its way to Houston. Most of these are from Sunday, Sept 14 2008.

I’ve got a few more on my work computer and I’ll do another search and put them up unless I have something newer tomorrow. I so glad the town was evacuated.

Pray for Galveston

Thanks to my Mom’s diligent news-watching, i realized tonight that Hurricane Ike swept right through Galveston, home to my best friend and his family. I’ve been scouring for news or information online while trying to reach them – I haven’t heard back yet. I really hope they’re OK.

I found this youtube video taken from a Coast Guard helicopter flying over Galveston:

I cut a few frames from it and tagged them:

Approximately where their house is at:

Moody Gardens, where Clint, Lillian and I spent several days:

The NOAA research facility where Christi works:

Webcam from the Commodore at 37th on the Seawall, dated Friday the 12th, before the storm surge was supposed to land. Webcam from the Commodore at 37th on the Seawall.Link to that spot on the map

A webcam at Galveston Harbor. The oil derrick in this picture is the one Clint and I toured.

Downtown shopping district known as “The Strand”. Link to approx location on the map

What is usually a pier in Galveston Harbor. The Starbucks we walked to is a block to the left of this. Link to this spot on the map

A shot I found here that I matched to one of my photos from July for comparison. Again, this is *before* the actual storm surge is supposed to hit sometime on the 13th.

An even closer-to-submerged shot of that same pier, which is here on the map, about six blocks west of the NOAA facility.

I found a few more photos on Click2Houston.com. Here’s the Flagship Hotel on the seawall, which is located here on the map.

I’m going to quit looking for more pictures because there’s only really one piece of news that I care about… Clint, call me back.

Moody Gardens, Galveston TX

I haven’t even posted my pics of my last trip to Galveston in April, but I was desperate to use a Mac for a few minutes after a week with nothing but my work laptop, and once I sat down at Clint’s Mac Mini I just couldn’t tear myself away. And that’s how I found myself elbow-deep in Photoshop pulling these pictures off my camera for you while Clint made lunch, fed Lllian, cleaned up the kitchen, and otherwise did all the work. 😉

Clint, Lillian and I toured Moody Gardens this morning, wandering through the indoor rain forest looking at frogs, birds, bats, fish, a sloth and a chevrotain. Here’s a few of my favorite pics in the meantime, before I get my photo gallery overhaul finished and post the full set.

Moody Gardens:

The rain forest expedition crew:

Lots of big, fancy birds:

Some cartoonishly-huge bugs:

Tiny, and probably highly poisonous frogs:

Lush, tropical foliage filled with giant blooms:

A very friendly lizard that was happy to pose on the railing for his close-up:

And even a species common to Texas, but equally at home in cities across America, the Cadillacius Urbanius Gangterus: