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The Galveston Seawall





[Photos by J.A.]

By Joel Achenbach  |  September 12, 2008; 5:26 PM ET
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Hurricanes came oft that fall
And Ike of course, was no mere squall
I planned and saved
And would’ve came through unscathed
Were it not for that accursed fire-ant-ball

Posted by: SonofCarl | September 12, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

The top pic, which is way cool, tells why being there is such folly Makes me miss doing exciting things, sigh.

Stay safe JA.

Posted by: frostbitten | September 12, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Joel is such a show-off!

Posted by: TBG | September 12, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

That satellite truck looks like an offering to the water gods. Could it maybe take refuge in a parking deck?

Is the monkey sculpture just beyond the Coldwell Banker building in the bottom photo?

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 12, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

What's that huge statue? looks like a masculine knock-off of the Statue of Liberty, only brown and hatless (perhaps the wind blew it off).

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

For some reason, people here stripped the Wal*Mart of Ramen noodles and canned tuna in anticipation of Fay. I assume anyone staying in that waterfront high rise will have better sense and dine on those pre-softened Japanese-style noodles instead.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 12, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

Nice pigeon.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 12, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

The statue is apparently a memorial of the 1900 hurricane:

Posted by: SonofCarl | September 12, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Wow. To get pictures like that I would insist on using a real big telephoto lens so that I could be standing someplace safe. Like Oklahoma.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 12, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Ramen and Tuna when this menu is available?

Posted by: Shiloh | September 12, 2008 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I don't see any pictures of your trusty hunting dog and horse with saddle, Joel!

Let me file your story for you:

"A storm came, rained, surged.
Texas's wet. End of story.
Can I go home now?"

Posted by: Wilbrodog | September 12, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Joel has no words here because he has been plenty busy helping to write these:

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 12, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

The father of Bristol Palin's baby speaks out.

Posted by: Kevin | September 12, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

that is scary. Stay in Joel, rent a movie... like Twister or something... so you can say, 'well, could be worse'

Posted by: Miss Toronto | September 12, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

CP, the crazed madman aspect of John Brown's personality really comes through in that painting. No surprise that it scared you.

Incredible photos from the boss. I hope he gets hurricane pay for doing this.

Posted by: slyness | September 12, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Ha, Miss Toronto, that's one of my favorite sayings!

I thought I had been through 2 hurricanes when I lived in Houston during the early 80s, but all I can find a record of is Hurricane Alicia, in Aug of 1983. It was very scary, palm trees bent to the ground, the shattered glass downtown, the flooding, the trees. I have a vague memory of an evacuation for Galveston for a storm that didn't hit, too. Galveston was the best part of living in that area, for me, tar balls in the Gulf and all. Lots of crape myrtles.

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 12, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Joel should order dinner from the room-service menu before the power goes out and the kitchen is under water. I wouldn't rent a movie unless his generator is working - on the balcony, not in his room. And don't use the Weber grill indoors either, even if you don't have matches.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 12, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

I haven't seen anyone fishing yet, isn't there any fish in the Gulf? Well maybe tomorrow you can just pick them up out of the parking lot.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | September 12, 2008 6:53 PM | Report abuse

If the kitchen is closed:

Dinner is on the balcony.

Posted by: Shiloh | September 12, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

My wife and I are watching Houston news station KHOU, channel 361 on our DirectTV dish, and it's scary. A few minutes ago somebody reported from the roof of the San Luis. Now getting wind gusts in Galveston above hurricane level (81 mph).

My wife (not often the quipmeister in our household) remarked, "When this is over, Texas may no longer be the second-largest state."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | September 12, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, scary is the word. And let me state what, to me, is obvious. When it comes to threats to our national security, hurricanes need to be bumped up in the queue.

Posted by: RD Padouk | September 12, 2008 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Nice to know that She Who Must be Honey-dewed made a funny, Mudge.

I did have to stop and think what the third-largest state was... California, and Montana is fourth.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, your wife may have a point.

JA, the pictures are something else. And the stuff on the television showing all that water, and the storm hasn't even arrived yet. I hope the folks in Texas did what the officials ask them to do. I hope we don't have anyone playing chicken. Take care, Joel.

And I'm getting worried about Loomis. She hasn't checked in, has she? Perhaps I overlooked her post?

Slyness, Hugo was tough,but Fran wasn't anything to sneeze at either. My air conditioner caught fire in that one. I was living in the mobile home, and the wind was blowing water in it through the wall. We had a candle lit inside because the power was out, and we couldn't keep it burning because of the wind. We finally had to leave and go next door to my parents' home. The trees were bowing all night. I sat up and looked out the window most of the night. A hurricane is real scary, and demands our respect. Man doesn't have anything for it. It will always win.

I'm going to keep all the folks down that way in prayer. Not only those in Texas, but all along the Gulf.

Night, boodle. Sweet dreams.

Posted by: cassandra s | September 12, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking the Boss might get to say hey to Anderson Cooper, but it looks like he's not going to Galveston - poor Gary Tuchman is there...

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 12, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I've been wondering, Cassandra. We did advise her to change her boodle name, but I haven't seen anything that looks like it might be her. She's in San Antonio, which is far more inland than Houston, so she shouldn't be affected badly; if Austin doesn't have a warning, San Antonio shouldn't, either.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I used to live in Bryan-College Station, the twin cities. Texas A&M is in CS. It's still in the predicted path after the hurricane passes over Houston, etc. Alicia died out right overhead when I was there. All the hurricanes are now listed by name in Wikipedia. (well, not ALL, but you know what I mean. That bad one in 234 B.C. isn't listed) Hope things slow down out there as soon as possible.

TGB, the 1¢ is yours.

Posted by: Jumper | September 12, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Some people will like my latest post.

Posted by: Jumper | September 12, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Fran bypassed us completely, IIRC, Cassandra. As did Bertha, earlier in that season. 1996 was a bad year in NC, at least in the eastern part of the state. I worked with a guy in the fire department who had relatives in Princeville, which was flooded and destroyed. They had to move the town to higher ground.

Posted by: slyness | September 12, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

I think JA is staying close to the satellite truck in case the aircard goes kerflooey.

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 12, 2008 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Very cool pics, Joel. What does it feel like to be in a major hurricane? The years I lived in Miami we never had a major cane. After I left (of course) Andrew blew ny best friend's house away. She moved to a house closer in that survived. Lives there to this day.

Ike is making us all learn to be patient since coverage has been going on for days now. But many lives will be saved as a result.

Just returned from celebrating my new job...I start Monday...from home no less. Life is full of surprises...always remember that when you get down in the dumps. I am so psyched!

Posted by: eidrib | September 12, 2008 8:59 PM | Report abuse

With 15M people in the Houston/Galveston metro area, I would have thought that the number of evacuees would be greater than the estimated 1 M. Ike is going to be rated at Category 1 when it crosses Houston. Having been through Hugo, I'd be inclined to leave town. A gallon of regular unleaded went up $.40 yesterday. I waited in a gas line for the first time since my teenage years in the 70's.

Posted by: jack | September 12, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the boodle has undergone a certain death?

Or is everyone hunkering in the bunker awaiting kinda sorta death?

Posted by: DNA Girl | September 12, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Joel -- spent a night or two at the San Luis Hotel, although a couple of decades ago. Beware of money launderers posting "private bankers" and sending you bottles of Dom Perignon.

If the Bolivar ferry runs again before you come home, don't toss Alka-seltzer to the seagulls.

CCE -- aka Texas Girl aka your neighbor and carpool-mate

PS -- my sister in Beaumont still has some gin left if you are thirsty. But don't wait too long.

Posted by: CCE | September 12, 2008 9:03 PM | Report abuse

When I heard that the residents of Galveston faced "...certain death...", the first thing to come to mind was PT Flea from "A Bug's Life": "Flaming Death!!!!" I chuckled inside.

Posted by: jack | September 12, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

The CNN guy in Galveston was just on and said that the hotel The Boss mentioned was built specifically to withstand this sort of hurricane. He said that it was built like the proverbial brick outdoor crapper. Stay safe, Joel.

Posted by: jack | September 12, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Ten minutes to the Palinview. My blood pressure has been too low.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 9:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Cassandra. I'm going to go say a prayer or three for all of those along the gulf coast who are going to suffer in this.

I will however send a special wish along for the boss to be safe, and the Achenwomenfolk. We are thinking of you.

Posted by: dr | September 12, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Well, I guess I haven't actually gone back to lurking after all. I started watching the Bill Moyers show about the Unitarian church shootings in Tennessee, and couldn't continue--the routine spewing that he quoted from right-wing hate radio jocks made me so sick. I don't hold the talk show guys directly and personally responsible, but I wonder what they think they are doing. Society can afford a certain amount of careless venting when times are good and everybody is feeling flush, but when times are bad we need to be more careful how we carry on our conflicts.

This election really bothers me. The Republicans know they screwed the pooch when it came to running the country, and they are campaigning on pure adrenalin. The Robert Caro biography of LBJ quoted him as saying, "If you do EVERYTHING, you will win." That's what the Republicans are doing, and Obama is flatfooted. I daresay I think Hillary would have been more sure of herself at this stage.

Posted by: Woofin | September 12, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't think he's flatfooted, but he has indeed been playing defensive a little awkwardly. You're right, they got nothing to lose and they're working this bounce for all they're worth.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Agree, Woofin. Odds favor MaCain/Palin. They are incredibly lucky with Palin.

I'm sure Joel is safe. Joel is very cautious.

Posted by: eidrib | September 12, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

If Obama is on SNL tomorrow night... with Phelps hosting, viewership will be high.

Mo, you know what I'm talking about.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 12, 2008 10:49 PM | Report abuse

In between insane long-haul flights, I just have to say that I really (reely reely) like Woofin and I wish s/he would post more often and become a regular.

Eidrib, well done. Well done!

Posted by: Yoki | September 12, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm trying to figure out if this is a dirty trick or just a misguided lackey.

The voter registrar is telling students that they could lose their scholarships or health insure if they register to vote locally.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 12, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Yoki. You are my inspiration. :-)

Posted by: eidrib | September 12, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

yellojkt, I saw that on a knitters' forum, believe it or not. Someone who claimed to know what she was talking about said it was trying to dispel misinformation that college students' absentee ballots wouldn't count. It seems pretty heavy-handed, though - you'd think they could have been more clear about that. Ah, voter fraud season is underway. Mr Ml's predictions of Republicans winning no matter what are sending a chill to my heart, now that I think about what may occur should Obama win.

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 12, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

The statue that I mistook for something frivolous is indeed a monument to the catastrophe of 1900.

The dramatic NWS radar imagery and GFDL model (as pointed out by the Science Guy at the Houston Chronicle) make it look as though Galveston is indeed about to go under. May everyone be upstairs in sturdy buildings.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 12, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Got a message from Joel a little while ago, telling me that the hotel is indeed built like a fortress, but that connectivity is spotty. He also says that he's fine and that we shouldn't worry about him.

I see that power's out down there, and Ike even chased Jim Cantore inside, since the strongest part of the storm's just hitting now...

Have a good evening, all.


Posted by: bc | September 12, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

And if JA sends me anything else from Ike Station Galveston, I'll pass it along.


Posted by: bc | September 12, 2008 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Woofin, in reply to your 10:26 --- Hillary might have been more sure footed, being mano a mano to another woman, but the result would be brushed away as a "catfight."

Posted by: nellie | September 12, 2008 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Yoki Good to see you, busy gal. Eidrib, Boolya!

BC -- thank you for that Joel sighting. DR, agree with you about the Achenbeloveds.

Is it not wonderful that through digital connections we care about brave JA but wish him (a bit!) to be in muggy DC, letting Phoebe kitty in, then out, instead?

Posted by: College Parkian | September 13, 2008 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Poor Hugh Laurie. The Leno audience is missing half the jokes.
Dame Edna's next. I wonder if they'll twig.

Posted by: Boko999 | September 13, 2008 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Houston Chronicle has reported that stranded Galveston residents are calling for help, which can't be provided.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | September 13, 2008 12:47 AM | Report abuse

What jokes, Boko? Hugh Laurie is on Leno? That's... surreal.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 13, 2008 12:54 AM | Report abuse

And Ricky Gervais is on Letterman - I'll have to tape it. I can't watch the late night shows because of all the commercials, and, well, because they're on so late. Even for me.

Gary Tuchman said the the hotel had lost power and the generator wasn't working. But he said it was the safest place to be in Galveston. Glad bc heard from Joel.

Posted by: mostlylurking | September 13, 2008 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Bah! Hurricanes, schmurricanes. Why, when I was a child in Okinawa, we had typhoons that tore the fangs right out of the habu's mouths and killed the mongeese without any silly sparring!

On the morning after a big blow, the sidewalks were littered with the corpses of huge fruit bats who'd been brained by the airborne carcasses & shells of large snails which had been plucked from the ground and tossed willy-nilly about the atmosphere.

Posted by: Bob S. | September 13, 2008 1:27 AM | Report abuse

And we had to walk by all of those dead critters, picking them up and putting them into our dinner-bags, with our barefooted toes, on our ten-mile walks to and from school.

Posted by: Bob S. | September 13, 2008 1:42 AM | Report abuse

And back then, boys had hair on their chest before age 6, Bob S.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 13, 2008 2:17 AM | Report abuse

wow, galveston's not a place i'd like to be right now. stay safe, joel.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | September 13, 2008 3:06 AM | Report abuse

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that 23,000 people chose to remain in Galveston. Is that number correct? If so, has J.A. ever before hunkered down with as many lunatics? And is he as reassured as I am that these people, if they survive, may cast a vote that counts the same as mine?

Posted by: allbetsareoff | September 13, 2008 3:16 AM | Report abuse

Oh my goodness, joel. Do stay safe.

Posted by: rainforest | September 13, 2008 4:10 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

(hiya rainforest! must have just missed you!)

Looks like Ike isn't *quite* as bad as it could have been (relatively speaking), but still a little too early to tell for sure. The Weather Channel guy (who appears to be broadcasting from the area where Joel is hunkered down) hasn't been swept out to sea yet, so I'll take that as a positive sign.

I may complain about Ohio weather, but I'll take our worst over Ike and his ilk any day.

Time for more coffee and my morning putter in the shop. I'm hoping an early start will give the pieces I need to lacquer today enough time to dry to make today's shipping deadline.

Peace out...

Posted by: martooni | September 13, 2008 5:10 AM | Report abuse

Well, JA's getting the backside of the eyewall now, so let's keep that positive karma flowing, shall we?

Thanks for the update, bc.

*not-really-the-proper-time-for-a-full-wave-so-call-it-a-kinda Grover raised hand -- with fingers crossed*


Posted by: Scottynuke | September 13, 2008 5:30 AM | Report abuse

New Kit

Posted by: Brag | September 13, 2008 6:48 AM | Report abuse

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