In the Loop

Returning home after a hurricane

Posted at 4:25 PM on October 3, 2008 by Sanden Totten

Remember that other disaster? The one that had nothing to do with mortgage-backed derivatives or InterBank lending? Two weeks ago we spoke with Angelina Harrison, a native resident of Galveston, TX. She got out just before that disaster hit. Now she's been allowed back in.

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She sent us pictures of her hometown. Houses have been gutted by residents. They've torn up carpets, tossed out furniture and trashed dry wall that was damaged by the flooding. Angelina said her three-year old daughter didn't understand at first why they had to leave their home. But now she's heard her mom talk so much about damaged homes that her first question to anyone she encounters is: "how much damage did you get?"

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Angelina now has power in her house but no drinkable water or phone service. She puts in a full day's work cleaning her home. It took three bottles of Clorox just to scrub out the garage. In the evenings, she drives back to La Marque where she's been staying. The next day it's more of the same.

Driving around you see cars that died being towed away, trucks hauling trash to the local dump. Even a nearby school had to be emptied. Angelina was told it could take a year before they can hold classes in it again.

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But despite it all, she doesn't think twice about moving back. She's a B.O.I., "born on the island" and she plans to stay. But she admits, it'll be a long time before living in Galveston feels normal again.

As for as that financial disaster, the one she's heard a few people mention over the phone that has something to do with a bailout, Angelina says the people of Galveston have blocked it out: "The outside world is totally off our radar. I'm thinking 'let me deal with that in '09.'"

October 2008
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