Monday, March 20, 2006

Wet in Houston

We are parked at the Peace Community Church, on the western edge of Houston (map). Yesterday morning, Louise's brother, David, was ordained as pastor here, and we attended the ceremony. David is in the process of moving his family here from British Columbia, and we had a nice visit with them as well as Louise's dad and stepmom, who flew in for the occasion.

A line of thunderstorms has just passed through here, and things are very wet. Also, Opal (who hates thunder) is nervous. We have a little break in the weather right now, and we are preparing to get under way. We have been in this spot since Friday evening, but we've been too busy with family to post.

Friday we drove through Cameron Parish, LA, and had a chance to see the progress since our last visit late last year. For anyone who is not familiar with the story, here is a quick checklist of Cameron Parish communities and facilities:

  • Grand Chenier: Obliterated. Hard to tell there was a town here at all.
  • Creole: Obliterated. Part of a church is the only thing standing.
  • Cameron: The oil facilities show signs of life. The courthouse still stands and houses the entire parish government, in the form of an EOC. A couple of enterprising folks have hauled trailers into town and opened restaurants in them, which were doing a very brisk business with the contractors when we passed through at lunch time.
  • Cameron Ferry: Fully operational. No fares are being collected.
  • Holly Beach: Gone. Only the water tower remains. Many residents have cleared their properties, but no rebuilding is happening yet.
  • Ocean View Beach: This small cluster of stilt homes was completely gone in December. On this pass, two structures had been completely rebuilt (perhaps with modular construction) and were occupied.
  • Johnson's Bayou: Part of a church survived the storm. Other structures were still in various states of destruction. Many folks seem to be living in trailers on the oil production property near town.
Like a forest after a fire, small signs of life are sprouting along the gulf coast, and the hardy people who live here will come back and rebuild. It is going to be a long, long road.

Today we will be leaving Houston in the general direction of Austin.

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