9.26.2008

The Galveston, Texas Experience: A Closer Look at the Devastation Part I


Written By Jesse Muhammad
Photos by Jesse Muhammad

GALVESTON,TEXAS--On Wednesday, September 24, people returned to Galveston, Texas for the first time since Hurricane Ike slammed the Gulf Coast.



I wanted to originally drive there on the first day but of course you know the traffic was "license plate to license plate" going there so I decided to wait one more day. This was also the second day I had been home since my electricity had been restored. I watched on television as people broke down in tears as they return to empty lots where their homes used to reside. Slabs gone!....boats washed ashore....and who knows how many bodies are at the point of no return in the water. Galveston officials were warning people that it was still unsafe and that everyone should wear masks because of the toxic air.



On Thursday, September 25, I filled up my tank, grabbed my camera, reporters pad and headed down Highway 6, which leads all the way to the entrance of the island. Small counties took a pounding.



One interesting thing I also saw was a person selling a t-shirt on the side of the road that read "I Survived Ike".(pictured below)



Once I came around to 45 South just minutes from the entrance bridge leading to Galveston, I could see boats on the side of the freeway washed up by Ike. I was told that most of the debris that is stack up on the side of the road is the remains of houses that were completely destroyed....if that is the case there were ALOT of homes!

The air was very toxic and I was coughing even with my face covered. Many areas were deserted due to no running water or power. Just like Houston, the number of uprooted trees was crucial and the workload in restoring power is being shared by companies from across the state of Texas.



On one side you would see a Wendy's manager on the side of the beach front waving a sign that says "We Are Open" and further up the street hotel workers throw debris from the 10th floor of a closed hotel....People lined up to wash their clothes at a Tide RV station while some of the natives decided to fish or surf to ease their mind.

Most of the people I ran into did not really feel in the mood to talk about their experience so out of respect I would not press the issue.....but then I was walking the beach and spotted a couple sitting in their car with their two dogs taking in the breeze. I introduced myself and said "would you mind if I interview you all?", and the boyfriend replied "Sure".....that interview comes in Part II.

Until then here are some more photos.