Hurricane Harvey roared ashore along the Gulf Coast of Texas late last month leaving death, displacement and devastation in its wake.
Several people with ties to Paris are among those counting their blessings because they survived. Some are sheltering people made homeless by Harvey, and one family is wondering when they can go home and regain some semblance of normalcy.
Natalie Deason Daugherty, daughter of Geary Deason of Paris, and her family are among the 30,000-plus making do in temporary quarters after being evacuated from their homes. Late last week, Daugherty, her husband and two sons were housed with another family in a motel room in Sequin, Tex., three hours from their home in West Columbia, Tex. which is 35 miles south of Houston.
There are four adults, two children and their pets living in one room, she said.
“The hurricane hit on a Friday and we left the next morning,” she said. “There was flooding all around us and they told us the town was going to be under water. The sewer system in West Columbia is messed up and it might be two or three months before we can go home.”
Daugherty said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is paying their motel bill. She’s gotten photos from people back home who chose not to leave and said they tell her some water has entered her home.
“We’re getting updates on our house,” she said. “We have a lot of help. We feel very lucky and very blessed to survived. I’m trying to keep the kids busy. One day, we went to the zoo in San Antonio. They let evacuated families in free of charge. I’m thankful every day. We’ve got a lot of people praying for us in Arkansas and Texas. I’ve been through one hurricane but this one takes the cake.”
Scott Parker, Vince O’Bar and Ted Marlowe, all with connections to Paris, are among the really lucky. They didn’t have to evacuate their homes, but they have provided shelter for some who did.
Parker, son of Don and Charlotte Parker of Midway and a Paris High School graduate, lives in Angleton, Tex. which is 40 miles south of Houston. He works at a Dow Chemical plant in the area.
“We got only 15 inches of rain,” he said late last week. As much as 50-plus inches of rain fell elsewhere during and after Harvey’s passage.
“We’ve been very lucky. I can’t express how lucky we’ve been,” he said.
Parker is providing shelter in his home for five people from Brazoria, Tex. and he can’t say when they’ll be allowed to go back home.
“They’re doing okay and we’re okay,” he said. “We’re very lucky.”
From 1995 until 2006, Ted Marlowe was president of First National Bank of Paris. His home is in Houston, five miles from Interstate 10, which was under water late last week. Marlowe didn’t lose power and no water entered his home. But he did shelter some friends for a few day who were evacuated because they have four feet of water in their house.
“Whatever you see on TV, just multiply it,” Marlowe said last week. “It’s a mess. I’ve never seen anything like it. My friend doesn’t think he’s going to get back into his house for three weeks.
“Take Katrina and multiply it seven or eight or 10 times, it’s that bad,” he said. “The storm just hovered. It wouldn’t move. We got lots of rain. We got 30 inches where I live.
“A big problem is groceries. The stores don’t have much on their shelves,” Marlowe said. “There are a lot of volunteers here right now and stuff is starting to pour in here right now.
“I’m fortunate,” he said. “Lucky? Oh Lord in heaven, yes.”
Vince O’Bar is the son of Jim and Paula O’Bar and was raised in Paris. He moved to Houston to open a branch office of a trucking company five years ago. His home is safe and he and his wife are sheltering two families who were forced to evacuate. He doesn’t know when those families will be able to return home.
“We’ve got 11 extra people in our house and we have a family of six,” he said late last week. “We’ve got a large house.”
O’Bar said his sons, David and Johnnie, spent several days in the aftermath of Harvey in a kayak with one of their teachers rescuing people.
“The National Guard is here,” he said. “I’ve seen so many helicopters I wonder if I’m in Iraq. There’s some gouging going on. The looting isn’t that bad. We’re under a curfew. Shelves are empty. We were actually able to get milk and eggs last night. There were 100 people in line to get into the store. They’re only letting five at a time go in.”
Even with all that to deal with, O’Bar counts himself among the lucky.
“We couldn’t be more thankful,” he said. “When something like this happens, it’s a good reality check. You realize what’s really important.”