Sunday, September 28, 2008

PostHeaderIcon 15 Days

If you live outside the Texas Gulf Coast region, you might not even be aware that a major hurricane came across Galveston and through Houston.

Anderson Cooper pulled his pretty little prada boots up as soon as he could get out of town -- as did the rest of the corporate media. My only guess is that there was no great "hook"... the pictures from Galveston, Seabrook, Bolivar and even downtown Houston showed lots of devastation... but unlike Katrina, no bodies in the streets or riots in the Astrodome.

Despite having more than 2 million people without power, billions of dollars in property damage (at the last estimate more than $15B), hundreds of thousands evacuated -- and whole villages wiped from the map -- we were as prepared as we could have been.

And the response of local officials (Mayor White / Judge Ed Emmett) has been nothing short of phenomenal... kicking FEMA and Governor Goodhair in their collective asses as needed. (And letting the Shrub know he was welcome to get back to Washington to sign emergency relief legislation.)

So here we are 15 days into the largest natural disaster to hit Houston since Tropical Storm Alison in 2001:
  • 200,000 people still are without power
  • Curfew for the nation's fourth largest city has finally been lifted
  • Traffic is still a mess as random intersections are still without power or signals
  • Grocery stores are open, but choice is still limited in many food groups
  • Monday will have most area schools open
  • Most businesses are open now
  • Blue roofs are all over the place
  • Piles of debris line most streets
  • Trees all over have been debreded of their foliage
  • Plywood covers many windows -- just about everywhere

People here are starting to talk -- about what they've been through (or what their neighbors have been through) -- and there is a growing consensus on the need to harden the city's infrastructure and power grid for the next event. (And not leave it up to CenterPoint or the so-called "free market" to make it happen.)

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