This will be a limited edition because I have been temporarily displaced by our friend Harvey and related flooding in the Houston area and many of my research capabilities and resources have been curtailed for awhile. But I want to say a few words about this unprecedented calamity and the response it has produced.
This event has been variously described as one for 500, 800, and even 1,000 years, pick a number, but I know this: I have been in my home for 41 years and, until last week, there had been water over our curb twice, and never more than a few feet into the lawn, so for us it’s at least a 40-year event. But we’ll get through it, which brings me to my main point.
In between calls to insurance companies, contractors, utility companies, and related over the past week, like everyone else here and abroad who have been monitoring the TV coverage, I have observed Houston at its best. From the thousands who immediately flocked to the shelters to simply do what needed done for the dispossessed, to the armada of private watercraft of all shapes and sizes manned by volunteers who boldly rushed to fill the need for help in the evacuation of refugees (including me), to the thousands of stories and scenes of neighbors who literally saved numerous lives in their respective neighborhoods, to the many millions of dollars immediately donated by businesses large and small to help fund the relief and recovery effort, we again have witnessed the true spirit of Houston which has long been in evidence for those of us who live here.
So we’ll continue to be the place that we’re known for—the “can do” city with the indomitable entrepreneurial drive, the so-called “Hong Kong of the Western Hemisphere”, the city that people from around the world seek out to fulfill their version of the American dream, the city in which there is no barrier to full acceptance, be it wealth, class, or race and ethnicity—but what shows most in the response to Harvey is a character that runs even deeper, and it’s why I tell people in and outside Texas that if we didn’t have a Houston we would want to build one. And we will certainly immediately rebuild the one we have, even better.
I’ll be back in touch soon.