All The King’s Horses And All The King’s Men Couldn’t Put The Economy Back Together Again

Houston Chronicle

Looking at this image of debris washed up along Galveston’s seawall as Hurricane Carla battered the coastline in September of 1961 made me reflect on the powerful beating our economy has taken in a period of only five weeks. Yesterday, my childhood restaurant closed, one where I have fond memories of eating gingerbread pancakes and broccoli sour cream omelets, washed down with iced hibiscus tea at the dawn of the 80s. It had an hour wait nearly every weekend for 40 years, and now it has no wait. Another trendy Austin hotspot folded this morning. So much for their lemon shrimp linguine. How can everything tumble so quickly?

photo by Flip Schulke

Our favorite haunts are pummeled, as we stand helplessly by. So much for the Pleasure Pier.

all images from the Houston Chronicle

The water keeps rising. The Mobil is inoperable, but we don’t need the gas because we can’t go anywhere. The Motor Hotel is flooded, but we’re not allowed to travel from home, so it barely registers.

Down is up, and up is down. Small businesses fold; delivery services soar. Horses stand on patios.

Boats prop tilted on the highway.

In the aftermath, we try to salvage what we can. Sift through the rubble.

What do we do now? We have no income. We have no idea if our jobs will exist when we return to them. How will we pay our bills? We don’t qualify for unemployment benefits. This stimulus check will barely get us through the next month on essentials.

So we cry and comfort each other.

We wonder if the lives saved by isolation outnumbers the lives lost by suicide, outnumbers the families left unfed and unsheltered, down to their last double digits in their savings accounts. And still it goes on.

But we can see the light. We can walk toward it. The world will once again re-open, battered and bruised, but hopefully more united, more focused on true priorities and aware of invisible dangers. Together, we will wade out.

Dorian Impotent Against Puerto Rican Shelter

Edwin L. Wisherd

Sure, it looks ragtag and uncomfortable. But this 1939 stout shelter provided great protection from hurricane winds. Located near Caguas, the corrugated iron roof was secured with wire and crossed railroad ties to anchor it down.

This House Possessed

Dave Martin/AP
Dave Martin/AP

Actually, This House Possessed was a 1981 made-for-TV Parker Stevenson movie that gave me the willies in my formidable years. But it wasn’t nearly as scary as this shot of men being chased by a house. I bet they could give Usain Bolt a run for his money in the 100 meter dash.

When we think hurricane, we probably think of Katrina, but 1998’s Hurricane Georges was no picnic for folks in Key West. The 90-mph winds tore through homes on Houseboat Row.

Houseboat Row

Nowadays, Houseboat Row looks like this:

Is that winky face tempting fate? Is he squinting into the sun? Or did a seagull just make bad-bad on him?

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