On the Texas coast, a hurricane recovery haunted by the past

Sept 28, 2017
On Sept. 14, 2017, Severita Hernandez tried to salvage items from her storage shed, which was ripped apart by Hurricane Harvey during the weekend of Aug. 25. Hernandez and her husband, Carlos Hernandez, cannot stay at their home because it’s infested with mold. The couple have no life savings or insurance and are currently hoping for financial assistance from FEMA. “And of course I’ll be praying for Jesus to help us too,” said Hernandez. (RESHMA KIRPALANI / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Between the beaches of Port Aransas and the vacation rentals of Port O’Connor, the Texas coast is filled with small towns that suffered massive damage in Hurricane Harvey.

For some, the hurricane will forever alter the course of their future: Already in Bayside (pop. 333, and falling), at least eight families, close to 10 percent of the population, have decided to abandon the city. Small towns have seen their economies grind to a halt, and city budgets, already teetering on the edge of solvency, are in peril.

City leaders in the region worry that they lack the personnel and expertise to handle what promises to be years of seeking grants and recovery funds from the federal government. Roads, harbors, piers, pump stations and water treatment plants will all need to be rebuilt or repaired.

And residents are reminded of Indianola, a coastal port town that was all but wiped off the map by hurricanes a century ago.

Click here for the American-Statesman’s special report on the devastation, and the difficult recovery in these coastal small towns