All week I had watched the weather and followed Ike and it was supposed to hit the Texas and Louisiana border, but it ended up hitting Houston. It was Thursday and I had left work as we had been dismissed due to the storm and I went home to follow the storm. I had decided that I would wake up on Friday morning and see where the storm was going and then make a decision as to whether to evacuate or not. So Friday morning came and Galveston Island was already flooded out by 10 am and my favorite fishing pier had already been destroyed. So I decided that when they said the eye of the storm would come over my ghetto apartment, that I would take the kids and leave town. Even though I had told Ike that Tina was not at my house, he still came looking to beat the bitch.
This was Galveston Island 16 hours from landfall.
So I got on the net and there were no hotels west of Houston available anywhere in Texas. Or in New Mexico further west of Texas. I tried Oklahoma and there were no hotels available there either. Shit was all of Texas was leaving. So I saw Nola mayor Ray Naggin on TV saying Nola had tons of hotels so I decided that we were going to take a Big Easy Hurricane Ike vacation. I packed up myself, my babes, my brother, my pets, and my ex (yes I am not even that cruel to let the bitch drown) and headed east to Nola. We left at 2 pm with the storm lest than 10 hours from landfall. And let me tell you that we drove all the way to Nola in the feeder bands and dodging tornados. When we were on the lake on I-10 right before Nola, the waves from the lake were crashing on the bridge.
We got there and promptly unloaded the cars and headed down to Bourbon Street. Yes I took my kids down Bourbon Street on a Friday evening at 5pm. As I had not been there since I was a kid, I had to take a look at the famed party street. So on block one is Larry Flynt’s strip club. And they had a balcony with 2 strippers on top throwing beads to everyone, so my kids run out in the street and get beads thrown to them by strippers. All I could do was laugh with my brother while my ex looked at me those evil eyes that could kill. Yes I am a good parent with mad parenting skills, but come on it was Nola and we had to see Bourbon Street.
So we spent 6 days exploring all that Nola had to offer. We went to the World War 2 museum, the aquarium, the French Quarter, the garden district, a cemetery, and multiple trips to Bourbon Street. I even took my brother to Harrah’s casino for his first trip gambling. He lost $500 that night and I won $300. The best part of the night of the casino trip was my brother puking in the hotel bathroom and my ex cleaning it up, yes I call that poetic justice for my ex.
Anyways, after 6 days in Nola we drove back home to find that there was damage all over the place. My apartment did not have power. But it was all good because I let my neighbor use my gas bbq pit while we were gone so he gave us a line off of his generator when we got home.
I went back to work the next day and we got power back sometime while I was at work, so we were only without power for 15 hours while we were home.
The next weekend I drove my babes around to view the damage. All over Harris County down by Galveston bay was damaged. My kids were in complete shock at the cars all over the place, slabs of homes were all that was left in some places.
One of the ways you can tell a regions recovery efforts is by sports, yes sports. It was two weeks after the storm that my old high school held its first high school football game post storm. I took the babes to the game (as I always make it to many of my old school’s games as I played football there) and it was very surreal. Most of the time the games are packed and standing room only, yet this game had fewer than 500 people there. Most of the people I talked to that day still did not have power 2 weeks after the storm. But that day it did not matter, there was football. My old school won that day by 40-50 points and that win did more to heal my old home town than anything Fema, the Red Cross, or any other group could do. Even the banner the team ran through during the pre-game said as much.
Hurricane Ike was a huge category 2 storm. It was over 500 miles across and had wave heights which were greater than what Hurricanes Rita and Katrina had. The storm was so bad because of the storm surge that the National Hurricane Center stopped using the wave height as a measure for categorizing hurricanes and now uses wind speed solely as the measure of how strong a storm is.
All in all I was very lucky from this storm, as we had no damage from the storm other than a fridge full of rotten food. Lots of other people were not so lucky and had their homes completely damaged by Ike beating down people.
So to mark this second anniversary of Hurricane Ike, I think I will set fire to several sheets of plywood and a generator just to piss off the extremist do-it-yourselfers out there.