The Houston High Water Award: The 2016 Official Ballot

The final wave of ballots for the 2016 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate begins this afternoon! This week’s first new category open for voting is the Houston High Water Award. Which of the nominees on the roster have earned this prestigious accolade? That’s for you to decide!

Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate Ribbon LogoYou can vote in 4 ways for this award —  by commenting below, by emailing us, or by posting on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure all 4 of your votes count by checking out the official voting guidelines, posted right here; don’t forget to stir up support for your favorite nominees from your friends, and don’t forget that voting for all categories will end on December 27th at 5 pm. 

If you haven’t already sent in your choices for the first 5 categories — that’s Favorite Houston Design Cliché, Best Demolition, the “Where Are They Now?” Award, Best Industrial Incident, and Special Achievement in Parking — here’s your chance to catch up! (And for those of you keeping count, we’ll have our last 2 categories open for voting later this week.)

Now, take a gander at the Houston High Water Award’s official nominees:


Air New Zealand Houston Piece

1. Stock Photo Image of Houston Showing an Ethereal, Flooded Downtown. “Photos of flood-stage White Oak Bayou to the west of Downtown — evidently snapped during or shortly after the 2015 Memorial Day flood — made their way into Getty Images, where they took on new life as apparent shots of downtown Houston’s scenic waterfront (labeled only as ‘Houston, in the rain’).  Among the victims of this devil’s-in-the-details mis-tagging: the editors of Kia Ora, the in-flight magazine of Air New Zealand, which used the photo to plug travel to Texas this year following the opening of its direct flights from Auckland.”


2. The Live-on-teevee High Water “Rescue.” “During an abc13 report (shown above) on the treacherous driving conditions around town during the Tax Day flood — as if on a mission to illustrate the hazards — a UH professor proceeded to plow his Honda into the floodwater at Studemont at I-10, then abandon his sinking vehicle at the urging of  an indignant Steve Campion and cameraman, who were in the middle of a live spot about the other submerged car in the background.”



3. Freshly Re-Flooded Meyerland Remodels. “Water damage in Meyerland during the Memorial Day flood last year was common, and many folks in the area spent upward of 10 months replacing soggy flooring and sheetrock while living in hotels or upper stories; some finally moved back in this springjust in time to watch their homes take on water once again. How many of those homes survived round 2? And what does 2017 have in store for the area?”


Buffalo Bayou at Addicks Reservoir, Houston

addicks-res-storage-4-274. The Addicks and Barker Dams. “Despite being put to a historic stress test just as repairs were finally getting underway, the 2 aging and ‘extremely high-risk’ dams managed to hold their own (except for the wildlife), and hold back waters that might have unleashed an additional $60-billion-dollar flood down Buffalo Bayou through all the central hubs of Houston commerce and industry. Well done!”


Armadillo Rescue during Tax Day Flood

5.  The armadillo rescued during the Tax Day Flood. “That iconic image of a man in a yellow slicker slogging through the Greens Bayou floodwater, holding a bedraggled armadillo by the tail, emerged as a symbol of the Tax Day flood amid Houston’s local coverage and beyond. Cort McMurray even nominated the armadillo and its rescuer for the position of honor on a revamped city flag. His stirring words: ‘Because wherever you live in this far-flung metropolis, you know what it feels like to be soaked to the skin and up to your knees in rainwater, carrying a stranded armadillo to safety. We’ve all been there, haven’t we? It’s the closest thing we have to a universally Houston experience.’”


6. Rosharon Man Blocks the Brazos. “Refusing to simply accept that his house was in the path of the record-high flood moving down the Brazos in early June, Randy Wagner took to the internet in search of possible solutions. He eventually found AquaDam — producer of giant rubber tubes ready to be filled up with water to create temporary dams, mostly for construction purposes. Wagner drove 500 miles round trip to Abbeville, Louisiana to buy one of the devices, which he deployed around his home (to the bemusement of his neighbors). While the floodwaters crept a few inches higher than the AquaDam’s stated design limits, the device held, leaving his house the envy of the neighborhood: the only property to remain dry.


There’s the official roster — now, who’s earned the top spot?

Images: Kia Ora magazine (magazine shot), Russell Hancock (demolition in Meyerland), Swamplot inbox (Addicks reservoir), USGS (Addicks reservoir water level chart), (Doug Miller (armadillo), 

Videos: abc13, KHOU via Catalix TV

The 2016 Swampies

23 Comment

  • Let’s go for ingenuity and courage in the face of the flood: number 6! Frankly, number 2 should just apply for a Darwin award.

  • #6, the self-reliant homeowner, for the win. I think there’s a fable about an ant putting away grain for the winter while the grasshopper is laughing at his preparedness? Totally that guy!

  • #6 absolutely. Years ago Fox Sports had a production studio in an old butler building Gulfton. It was where they produced all 21 of the sports networks, and they had to deploy a similar inflatable dam across the loading dock every time it rained, otherwise the studio would flood out.

  • #2 with a close second of #5. You simply cannot replace a lost life. #6 should be in a new category… “Houston Holdouts”, “Fighting water with water” or “Houston, we have a solution”

  • Definitely #2

  • As someone who lives nearby, I love how #4 performed. I really do.

    But I’m voting for #6, because there’s someone who knows his environment, made a choice to live there, and found a good, sustainable way to deal with it. Good for him.

  • #2 for sure

  • #6 for the win. He used tubes and water to outsmart the flooding. Congrats on his determination and grit. His insurance company should send him the mother of all popcorn/pecan tins for Christmas from now on!!!

    #2 for a separate Darwin award of stupidity. This guy is a professor in college?!? He drove around barricades and right past a reporter doing a live report on tv on the deep water and already submerged car. Wow. Then he is struggling to swim in water that is only knee deep. You can’t make this stuff up. A runner up in this category is the people who we see on the news that drive around the orange barricades into freshly poured concrete. I believe the last two were a mustang and a jaguar. Those tracks were easy to follow.

  • Despite the fact that I nominated #2, I’d like to vote for #6. Because swampies should reward the good and smart, not the dumb. #4 & 5 would be worthy nominees as well.

  • I’ll take #6.
    Number 5 just worries me, leave those leprosy infested rats to their own devices next time please.

  • 6. Rosharon man fights the mighty Brazos…. and wins!

  • Honestly how could it not go to #6. Drinking beer in the hot sun. He fought the flood and he won.

  • 4. Addicks and Barker Dams

    It seems many gripe and comment on Houston’s disregard for planning and flood prevention. But, these vast reservoirs and dams limited the damaged as designed. And, they weren’t even half full and with deferred maintenance. This system, the Addicks Reservoir, has been in-place for decades.

  • In all the years growing up in the Houston area, I don’t ever remember seeing the reservoirs Barker and Addicks dams that high. Thankfully the dam held and the reservoirs emptied. Watching Clay Road close due to flooding not once but twice was historic in and of itself. Now let’s hope the next time Houston has Biblical proportions flooding, the Army Corps repairs will be finished. Honorable mention to the folks in Meyerland. It’s frustrating having to rebuild or remodel every time it floods. My heart goes out to those folks having grown up in Texas City, where it flooded all the time it seemed like.

  • Number 4. The prescient design and good engineering involved in these structures is definitely appreciated.

  • #6 I can just imagine him setting up his dam proudly waving his ‘Come and take it’ flag in defiance.

  • #5, Armadillo for the win.

  • # 5 hands down. This is why we love this place!!!