My immediate family is all fine. We are all well and good. The Austin area is about 250 miles from the shore and we didn't really get the brunt or the full force of storms that ravaged our coast. Sure, it's going to impact us in some ways, but these are little things. For example, I've heard the Austin area, or at least parts of it, are running low on supplies of gasoline. Also, our bread supply was wiped out in the storm center so we might have to go a few days without restocking. It's a small thing, not really even worth mentioning but it's there. Perhaps the biggest thing is that we feel for the folks on the coast. Many people, so many people, have lost everything. The storm came on a bit suddenly too. At first it was a tropical storm, and it remained that for days, so most did not heed any warnings to leave. Then it spun up and gathered force, eventually landing as a category 4 storm. Then the floods started. The storm system stalled over the gulf coast, dumping huge amounts of rain across the southernmost part of a state, with some places seeing upwards of 50 inches of rainfall in one weekend. Our news, both local and national, is filled with images from the gulf and we all have heavy hearts thinking of our fellow Texans stranded and hurt along our shore. These are not cheerful times in River City, I can tell you that much. We are grieving. There is a shroud of sadness sweeping over the city as folks try to deal with the loss and try to help out as best we can.
In many ways, I'm lucky to be a part of a larger art community in Texas. We have an abundance of artists here and it really is a tight knit community. Everybody knows everybody and the artists are all close in many ways. Early on, just as the storm was coming ashore, I had heard from the good folks over at the Rockport Center for the Arts. They had to pack up and run from the storm very quickly. The eye of the storm actually landed in Rockport and the art center was not spared the damages a storm like this can bring. It's facing massive damages, was flooded, and now sits in much need of repair. Luckily, the word is out too that there were no deaths among the art center staff, a small blessing indeed.
The Houston Center for Photography has setup a lifeline for any photographers in Houston who need immediate help. If you are impacted, they are encouraging you to contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These are just some of the early status updates I've been able to process. As the flood waters recede and the city digs out, I'm sure there will be more, so many more. For now, it's an understatement to say that my heart, thoughts, and prayers are with the folks on the shore.
One additional point of note. In order to maintain a sense of normalcy, I'm going to try to keep up with my routine posts, including my Opportunity Weekend. I anticipate some additional calls for entry going out for shows that will help the art community of Houston and the coast. I plan to try to highlight these as best I can. It's my little part of doing something, anything really to help. If you have an opportunity you'd like to spread the word about, please let me know and I will do my best to highlight it.
Until next time...
PS This shot taken with the Canon 5DS and the 24-105 walkabout lens. In front of our Texas flag, Texas strong and proud.