Tag Archives: Hurricane Laura

Sad about Holly Beach’s fate

Hurricane Laura has done its damage to the Louisiana coast.

Truth be told, the place that felt the storm’s full wrath is near to my heart. I hate to think of what likely has happened to Holly Beach.

The Cameron Parish resort used to be one of the best-kept secrets along the Gulf Coast. My wife and I would visit Holly Beach on occasion during the nearly 11 years we lived in Beaumont. We found it the first time almost by accident. We drove south to Port Arthur, hung a left, drove over the gaping mouth of the Sabine River and found Holly Beach sitting on the Gulf of Mexico coast.

Hurricane Rita, which stormed ashore in 2005, did a serious number on Holly Beach. I understand that it came back after Rita’s destruction. Now it might be gone, maybe forever, according to state emergency management officials.

One story about Holly Beach comes to mind.

It was a blistering, hot day in Beaumont one summer. I was working in our yard. I finally had enough of the heat. I told my wife I wanted to go to the beach, to jump into the sea water. We threw some beach accessories into our car and drove to Holly Beach. We drove onto the beach. We out of the car and ran into the water … which was about 95 degrees! The punchline? We didn’t get any sort of relief from the 100-degree heat.

But we stayed. We swam in the Gulf. We had a blast.

The storm has exited the Gulf Coast. It is still bringing rain far inland. The damage it has done to Holly Beach? I fear it’s permanent.

It saddens me terribly.

Power of prayer works again?

I never have been one to dismiss out of hand the power of prayer.

I pray all the time. I did so, along with millions of other Americans, that Hurricane Laura would spare our friends living in the Golden Triangle region in the southeast corner of Texas.

Guess what happened? Laura stormed ashore in Cameron, La., a good bit east of the Golden Triangle. I don’t wish bad things to happen to anyone caught in the middle of nature’s fury, and I have continued to offer prayer to those who were hammered by the Category 4 force of the killer storm.

The National Weather Service issued a most unusual warning prior to Laura reaching shore. The NWS said the storm would produce an “unsurvivable” surge of Gulf of Mexico water. Unsurvivable? Yep, that’s what they said.

Then I heard this morning that the storm surge wasn’t as monstrous as the NWS projected. Did the prayer work for those good folks, too? Well, suffice to say that the answer is one that cannot withstand empirical examination. You either believe it did … or you don’t. I choose to believe in the power of prayer.

Hey, I’ll take all the credit I deserve for that one. So should the rest of us. To be sure, there have been at least two fatalities reported in the past few hours, so the storm has inflicted terrible misery on the families and friends of at least two individuals.

I also should point out that the NWS wasted no time in retiring the name “Laura” from its roster of future storm names. The storm was strong and fearsome enough to join the ranks of Katrina, Rita, Ike, Maria and Harvey — among others — in the pantheon of retired storm names we’ll never see again during hurricane season.

Speaking on behalf of our friends in the Golden Triangle, I want to extend a heartfelt, sincere and profoundly authentic sigh of relief that they averted the worst of what Mother Nature can dish out.

Be safe, friends … and others

We have some dear friends on the Texas Gulf Coast who are made of mighty stern stuff, as are all the residents living from Orange all the way down the coast to Corpus Christi … and beyond.

They have been fighting, along with the rest of the nation, the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now they are facing another sort of wrath delivered by Mother Nature.

Hurricane Laura is bearing down on the Golden Triangle, which comprises the territory around and including the cities of Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange. Our friends live throughout the region. The National Weather Service has just elevated Laura to a Category 4 storm, which it defines as “very dangerous.”

I am hearing from a number of my friends. They’re vowing to power through it. One family that lives in Orange County is high-tailing it to the Hill Country to stay with their son while the storm comes calling. They remain confident their house will survive.

Another friend in Beaumont tells me not to worry, that they’ve been through this before, they’ll go through it again and that he is fully stocked with cold beer and ice for his other adult beverages. OK, dude. Be safe as well.

I am proud of their toughness and their fortitude. My pride in them does not forestall our concern for their safety.

Many of them will read these words. So this message is directed to them as they prepare to face the storm that will bring high wind, plenty of rain and that dreaded storm surge off the Gulf that might sweep as far as 30 miles from the shoreline.

We went through a few of those storms ourselves during our nearly 11 years of living in Beaumont. I have plenty of empathy for them.

My heart is pounding and hoping everyone in the path of the storm stays safe.