Galveston after Ike

My family and I visited Galveston this past weekend, our first sojourn there after Flagship Hotel, Galveston TexasHurricane Ike hit them and us in September. Our plans were to visit the Strand for some shopping, dine at Gaido’s, and see the lights at Moody Gardens.

We were unprepared for the level of damage still remaining. Since we’ve repaired most of what Ike did to our home and our neighborhood is pretty much back to what it was before the hurricane, it’s easy to forget.

  • As we drove into the city, debris piles are everywhere, seemingly pushed together by bulldozers and not yet disposed of. And, curiously, we saw boats sitting in several abandon lots as if waiting for their owners to still track them down and claim them.
  • On the port side, to my untrained eye, everything looked restored. A cruise ship was departing and the bars on that side (we stopped in at Willie G’s) were doing a fine business;
  • But what the cruise passengers do is anybody’s guess, as most of the shops on the strand are closed. We went to the taffy/candy shop near the end (or beginning) of the strand. It had a raised wooded floor, but now only the metal supports are left; the floor is gone. Overall there were only 3-5 shops open on the strand, with the majority either being worked on/repaired or having signs saying they will be back in 2009. We wish them luck.
  • The picture above my daughter took along the Seawall. The Flagship Hotel extends out over the water. In addition to the hole in the side that the photo displays, the road out to the hotel is still washed away. The souvenir shop / restaurant that was on stilts next to the Flagship is just a shell of crumbled boards, leaning with the wind.
  • Gaido’s, we are happy to report, is fine. With the exception of being out of crab (which can be attributed to voracious eaters vs. hurricanes), the food and wine were delicious as always.
  • We drove down 61st street after dusk to get to Moody Gardens. It was completely dark – no streetlights, no stop lights, no lights in the businesses or homes. After Ike, our home was without power for 12 days; for these folks, if they are still without power (it may have been a rolling blackout) it has been three months.
  • We drove through Moody Gardens, which looks fine, but since it was raining hard did not get out.

We drove back to the newly opened post office so my daughter could drop off her postcards. It was open and busy when we drove in, but it was dark and abandoned that night. We put our cards in the box in the dark, confident that, like Galveston, the post office workers would return.

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