Sunday, September 04, 2005

Hurricane Katrina's Houston Impact

Just in case family and friends are wondering about the hurricane's impact on Houston. I will briefly state that the impact is quite enormous. We live about 3 miles from the Astrodome complex. Yes, the Astrodome, the Reliant Center, and the George R. Brown Convention Center (all very big buildings) are full, but that's only one part of the story. This is not just a news story about a distant land called New Orleans, but rather it is a story unfolding in our own neighborhood. Rachel and I see the result of the hurricane's destruction with our own eyes. In church this morning (the giant Lakewood church), Pastor Joel Osteen and staff announced, "any evacuees who are here today, please stand up so we can pray for you." In the auditorium of 10,000 - 15,000 people, about 200 people stood up. Next: "please raise your hands if you are missing family." 50 people raised their hands. As one can imagine, it was a very heart-wrenching moment for everyone in the room. Twice today, in our apartment complex, I overheard two separate families talk about loosing their homes. One family - over tears - exclaimed that "Houston is a big, scary place to start over again. I don't know how my children are going to make it in their new schools." 5 hours later another family was more optimistic: "We can make this work. I have family here in Houston. I just need to find a house. I hear Pearland is cheap, but Kingwood would work too. I need to find a job."

Rice University has opened its doors to Houston-area Tulane University students. Furthermore, Rice's Jones School of Management is opening its doors to Tulane MBA students. I may have another 10-20 temporary classmates next week. Update: I do have 20 new classmates from Tulane. Super people!

In our own small world, between Rice, Lakewood Church, and Deloitte & Touche, volunteers in the tens of thousands are donating their time to feed those who no longer have a home. Houston area churches were called upon by the mayor to raise $5 million to feed the hungry for 30 days. These aren't evacuees from Indonesia or Iraq whose images are strewn distantly on CNN and Fox News. These evacuees are the ones Rachel and I see walking down Main Street on our way to Rice, Target, and McDonalds. Backpacks containing their earthly possessions...

1 comment:

Sam said...

You are a nice couple. Keep doing the good job of helping the less fortuante. Few people do that. It at least Bush would do his part.