I took the kids down to Galveston today so we could hang out with my friend who plays with the Beach Boys. They were in town to play a benefit gig.
The island is in sad shape. But there were some bright spots. The Moody Gardens Aquarium is open, and since there are so few tourists they have greatly reduced the entrance fee. (The Rain Forest Pyramid is closed until further notice.) The kids did get to see a beautiful shrimp trawler up close. They were fascinated.
What struck me most was the fact that all of the trees are dead. All of the beautiful live oaks, planted soon after the 1900 hurricane, are no more. They were killed by the flood of salt water. The only trees to survive are the palms and Norfolk Island pines. My best guess is that every deciduous tree more than 5 blocks from the seawall is dead.
Trash and debris still line Broadway. It will be many months before it is all picked up.
Warning signs were all too common. Fortunately, I don't think looting was much of a problem.
Not sure what happened here. It may have been flood damage, based upon the dead shrubs. It also looks like the house on the right drifted into the pastel-colored houses on the left. My son only noticed the cat and the toilet in the pink bathroom. Funny how kids focus in on things like that.
I've taken a photo at this spot before. It is what is left of the sign for the Balinese Room.
And here is what is left of the Balinese Room. It survived 80 years and many hurricanes, but it couldn't stand up to Ike. The pelicans do like the remaining stumps of the pier. They are handy places to perch on and wait around for fish.
Murdoch’s, another Galveston institution. A great gift shop on a pier that was almost 100 years old. This was a gigantic gift shop. Gone.
All that's left is some merchandise hanging on the wall.
The Strand. The biggest tourist draw in Galveston. The CBD for the city. It looks like something from a "day after" sci-fi movie. On a nice 82 degree fall day like today Galveston would normally be packed with tourists. But now it's all shut down and the only noise is the occasional sound from a repair crew. Not a thing is open. Nothing will be open for many months.
Many people have had their picture taken with the one-handed chef statue, which is normally out on the sidewalk. Well, he survived just fine. The restaurant didn't.
Most Houstonian's know La King's. A great place for homemade ice cream and a fantastic variety of hard candy made right there in the store. It's gone. All that's left is the sign, which you can see in the top left corner.
Anyway, about that beautiful shrimp trawler that delighted the kids.
After we dropped my friend off so he could perform tonight at Moody Gardens, we drove through some of the nice middle-class neighborhoods. The power was on, but it was so dark. Block upon block of damaged houses with no one living in them.
Galveston needs a lot of help! Most of the businesses along Seawall Boulevard are open, so I urge my fellow Texans to go down there and drop some green on the city.