Ike photo gallery 2

For 10 days after Hurricane Ike hit the Texas gulf coast, we were without power or internet access. But we didn’t stop taking photos. Here are some of the images we saw during and after the storm.

Lucky locations

By lunch time on Sunday, September 14, Bill was eager to get us all out of the house to take advantage of what the city had to offer. We had heard on the radio that a handful of restaurants and other venues had escaped the power outage, so we set out to see what we could find. About an hour later we came to Star Pizza on Washington Ave. Apparently Star is close enough to HFD station 6 that neither lost power. They had air conditioning, hot pizza, cold drinks, and — as a result — a full parking lot and a standing room only crowd.

We waited in line for most of an hour to place a carry out order; the wait was longer for an actual table. We then waited an hour for the pizzas. But in a small world moment, my mom ran into one of her coworkers, who was staying with friends in our neighborhood. Good conversation helped the wait go quickly! I also ran into a City Council staffer who had been sent to pick up pizzas for the Mayor. Too funny!

In the meantime, Christopher had staked out another lucky location: his school on the UH campus also had power. So we brought pizzas and shared two blessed hours of air conditioning with Chris and his family. We also charged cell phones and attempted to reach the internet, mostly unsuccessfully.

Chuck and Chris with pizza




Sierra and Izzy


The astonishing thing is how close the destruction came to the school without affecting it. It took us three times longer than usual to get there because so many streets in the Third Ward were blocked by fallen trees. And when we arrived, we saw this just 50 feet north of the building: a massive tree which took out a pole and power to most of the southern sector of campus. Somehow, the school was unaffected, and we were all very grateful!

UH tree took out most power

Sunday night, Mom and I laid on the front porch in the breeze and listened to the radio. With an almost complete absence of our usual light pollution, we were able to admire this marvelous full moon.

full moon

Later that night, Chris and Shawn decided that their hot, damp apartment was too much for his asthma, her arthritis, and two young children. So they hit the road to the Hill Country to stay in a friend’s cabin, instead. It took them a while to wend their way out of the darkened city, but Chris texted me along the way to let me know they were safe.

sleepy kiddos

Chris observed later that the bear Sierra is holding here was a gift from his friend Shane.

Hopeful and productive day

wayward oak branch

Early in the afternoon, we were delighted to benefit from routine trash collection on our regularly-scheduled day. We didn’t have that much trash, but it was a welcome sign of things returning to normal.

routine trash collection

Around 2:30 pm, Bill returned with the product of his day’s handiwork: a 5,500 watt generator that we affectionately named “Genni”. The thing weighs a ton, but Bill and Sean managed to unload it and assemble it, and then went off to seek gasoline to get her going.

Bill returns with Genni

Bill and Sean unload 'Genni'

When they got back, they wired us up. Having extension cords everywhere made it harder to close the back door, but easier to charge our cell phones.

extension cords everywhere

To power the fridge, two window fans, the TV, and a lamp, we went through 10-12 gallons of gas a day. As Chris put it later, “Genni’s a thirsty b!tch!” But it was really nice to be able to watch the news instead of listen to it. And the HD antenna Bill installed in the attic several years ago, which had lain dormant since, sure came in handy!

That night, the news announced that NOAA had released new satellite images of the storm-affected area. Bill put his laptop and its little cellular network card to work to find them. Once he was able to download the images, we took turns poring them over.

reviewing the satellite images

reviewing the satellite images

From the aerial view, it appeared that both Sarah’s building and Chuck and Jean’s home had roofs, which was a good sign. And since the swimming pool at Sarah’s building and one near the house appeared blue — rather than black as so many in New Orleans were after Katrina — we were optimistic that neither structure had been overtaken by storm surge. We went to bed Monday night feeling anxious, but hopeful.

More photos and commentary in Ike photo gallery 3 (coming soon)
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