Galveston for Tourists: Not Quite Yet

Dead Trees in Galveston after Hurricane Ike

Sure, we’ve all heard about the damage to Galveston — from news reports and the sad tales of returning residents. But how’s the place looking to tourists? Lou Minatti took his kids for a visit over the weekend:

The island is in sad shape. But there were some bright spots. The Moody Gardens Aquarium is open, and since there are so few tourists they have greatly reduced the entrance fee. (The Rain Forest Pyramid is closed until further notice.) The kids did get to see a beautiful shrimp trawler up close. They were fascinated.

What struck me most was the fact that all of the trees are dead. All of the beautiful live oaks, planted soon after the 1900 hurricane, are no more. They were killed by the flood of salt water. The only trees to survive are the palms and Norfolk Island pines. My best guess is that every deciduous tree more than 5 blocks from the seawall is dead.


Debris Piled Up on the Strand, Galveston, after Hurricane Ike

Meanwhile, the Strand

looks like something from a “day after” sci-fi movie. On a nice 82 degree fall day like today Galveston would normally be packed with tourists. But now it’s all shut down and the only noise is the occasional sound from a repair crew. Not a thing is open. Nothing will be open for many months.

More pics here.

Photos: Lou Minatti

3 Comment

  • The death of so many trees is bummer, but it is a natural destruction and will be replaced by people faster than nature.

    New Orleans had to go trough the same thing. Although the water wasn’t as heavy in salt as the surging waters in Galveston were, many old trees suffered and died. Others were weekend severely and had to lose many limbs to be saved.

    We must remember that Galveston was all but wiped out once before at a time where there were no outside help for them to rebuild. The recovery in 1906 was performed by the residents themselves to an amazing degree (raising a large portion of the city nearly 12 feet!). No federal or even state help was available to them. FEMA didn’t even exist. Red Cross wasn’t much to shake a stick at. Houston pretty much was a just a small town slowing being developed as a small in-land port. The rest of the country pretty much didn’t even know of Galveston and didn’t read or hear that it was nearly destroyed until a week later if not longer.

    The bright side is that Galveston will come back an with the right people guiding it can take change to make it better than it once was. I think the Strand can come back much stronger than it was before. The support to save the historic building will stronger. The move to get the waterfront/seawall areas to a status pre-Ike will be necessary so support of tourists (even just Houstonians visiting) can spend money on the island.

  • Live Oaks are among the few trees which can survive inundation by salt water. They’re not exactly happy about it, but most will survive.

  • the oaks are all dead??? wow????? omg – how horrible!!! i took all these pictures of houses in the historical district this summer on my blog and the trees are the best part!! maybe they aren’t really dead – just lost their leaves? is that possible?????? this just really upsets me!!