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Posted By:JORGE
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Old Comments:

2008-10-19 22:23:00
Yeah, irony and sarcasm are difficult in print, unless one happens to be Mark Twain or Dave Barry..I admit I took your question as a straight-up inquiry..seemed a reasonable thing to ask, and I certainly wasn't offended in any way..And without down-playing the extent of the damage and suffering here, let me explain that nearly all of the damage to the city itself, especially the parts behind the Seawall, was caused by the surge, which is a huge bulge of sea water beneath a hurricane caused by the extreme low pressure typical of such storms. Except for buildings ( such as the Balinese Room ) built directly on, over or near the water, the actual physical structure of the city's houses and buildings is almost entirely intact. And most homes in the older parts ofthe city are elevated enough above grade to have escaped flooding of their main living areas. The city is wounded, but it isn't fatal. As for moving or abandoning the city, although it's a reasonable question, it's kinda like asking why people continue to live along the Pacific coast, what with earth quakes and tsunamis and typhoons. If you moved San Francisco over to the east side of the Sierras and put it somewhere in, say, Nevada or Arizona, it would be safer, but it wouldn't be much of a port any more. There are obvious reasons why most of the world's port cities are on or near sea coasts, and Galveston's entire reason for being in the first place ( kinda like San Fran's ) was that it was the best natural harbor between New Orleans and Vera Cruz. Actually, I think we need things like this every now and then to come along and remind us of the fragility of our lives and works in the face of the raw power of nature. Galveston will rebuild, better and stronger and higher, and we'll have learned some valuable lessons. One thing we've learned is that if you've gone for weeks without cable tv, an inter-net connection or hot water, and had to choose which one you'd rather have, hot water wins hands down.
2008-10-19 04:56:03
gee, it's hard to convey sarcasm in an all print mode; sorry patito, i was just funnin' because i know there's tons of more important things for folks living on the gulf coast to do. as to galveston itself, this is the second hurricane in the space of about 75 years to almost completely destroy that island city. perhaps this time they should rebuild somewhere on the mainland coast (if it is possible to do so - there may be cities there already) behind the barrier islands, and build up those islands with some sort of baffles to obstruct wave surges in the future. this would allow the islands to protect the city, instead of allowing the storms to shred the community from the islands and turn them into expensive piles of destructured garbage.
2008-10-18 21:29:17
Hard to say, J.S...there are so many more pressing matters...there are still folks without basic services....my friends out on the West End ( beyond the protection of the seawall ) are just now getting their electricity turned back on..and although businesses are opening here and there, many are still struggling, trying to clean up and re-build...meanwhile, their former employees are without jobs..the Island's major institution and employer, UTMB, the University of Texas' flagship medical school, sustained over 700 million $'s worth of damage..it'll be months before they are back to normal, and in fact there's talk of simply moving some departments off the Island permanently..it's anticipated that about a third of their 12,000 employees will loose their jobs..MD's and RN's and other professionals can always find jobs elsewhere, of course..but lots of people here have depended for decades on jobs in food service, house keeping, maintainance and such..not high-paying, but secure jobs, with insurance and retirement, etc...thousands more who worked in the tourist industry in hotels, restaurants, amusement parks and etc are now without jobs...and lots of those people either lost everything they had during the storm, or their homes were seriously damaged...Galveston is a an old, quaint, eccentric kind of town..Edna Ferber visted here once and said the town reminded her of Miss Havisham, the crazy old lady in Great Expectations...but it has a rich cultural texture, the population is extremely diverse, the people are resilient, and the city will eventually return to some kind of normality...but it's gonna take a while, and it will never be quite the same...
2008-10-18 07:03:15
This isn't Galveston Island..it's the Boliver Penninsula, which lies just east of Galveston, and is not protected from the full force of storms by a seawall, as is Galveston. Damage from Ike was bad enough in Galveston..on Boliver it was catastrophic. Some of he best photos I've found showing the damage inflicted by Ike are at Boston.com...go there, then enter 'Ike' in the search bar, then look for "the short but eventful life of Ike"...there's a shot taken at Gilchrist, on Boliver, that shows what a Category 2 wind and a Category 4 surge can do to an un-protected coastal community..