Exactly 7-years ago, in 2008, I was in the middle of what would be my final internship as a newspaper photographer in Baltimore, MD. Although the internship was through the Fall, I had previously purchased a plane ticket home to Houston to photograph a friend’s wedding that was scheduled to take place down south in Galveston. About a week prior to my trip I was glued to the TV in Baltimore watching as Hurricane Ike finally made landfall in my hometown of Galveston on the 13th of September. Thankfully my apartment, which was then about halfway between Galveston and Houston, was completely spared, however Ike would go on to become the 3rd most costly Atlantic hurricane trailing only Katrina and Sandy. $25 billion in damages after it was all said and done.
I used my plane ticket home and since the wedding was postponed, I took a ride down to Galveston, which was still under a partial curfew, to observe the damage and take a few photos.
I was able to make it back to the island on the 28th, about two weeks after the initial landfall. I could not believe that after 2 whole weeks how much was still left to be cleaned up. I visited Payco Marina, the tiny neighborhood of Channel View, where I once lived as a child (also the opening location of HBO’s The Jinx), Bayou Vista, Tiki Island and several locations along the seawall and Harborside Dr.
In the years following I would go on to do many follow up stories on people and businesses rebuilding, however nothing will ever compare to seeing the destruction and chaos that first trip back.
I revisited a handful of images from that first trip that can be seen below.