On August 25th in 2017 Rockport Texas was struck by a powerful Cat 4 hurricane named Harvey. Life in Rockport changed drastically that day. By the end of the storm it had caused catastrophic flooding and more than 100 deaths.Wind gusts were observed up to 132 mph just south of town and 1,000’s of homes were destroyed in Texas.
In Rockport, entire blocks were decimated from the violent eyewall winds. The city's courthouse was severely damaged when a cargo trailer was hurled into it, coming to a stop halfway through the structure. Many boats were damaged or sunk and the Aransas County Airport sustained major damage. Twenty percent of Rockport's population was displaced by the storm and many were still unable to return to their homes a year later. Yes, even today the town is still slowly recovering.
Three and a half years later while driving around town signs of storm damage are still evident throughout the area. Yet, those who stayed are are excited about what Rockport and nearby Fulton Texas will become with the infusion of federal emergency funding that is still being spent to revitalize.
I’ve been here nearly a month and can see the rebuilding slowly changing the look of the town. The economy is still in a rocky spot especially after a year of dealing with the Covid pandemic. As Texas begins to open up fully, business owners are hoping for the return of tourists to their hotels, restaurants and shops.
I’d say about half of the town takes Covid seriously and still masks up while the other half appears to be ignoring all medical advice while enjoying life as if Covid didn’t even exist. As a result some businesses seem to have catered to these two disparate groups with some not caring about patrons wearing masks while others still adhere to a strict masking policy.
I am not making any political statement about these two different groups I am simply portraying what I am seeing in this small Texas town. No matter what one believes or their political views, I am sure we all hope to see the day this town and others like it are back to being full of people supporting businesses back to the way they were before Covid existed.
NOTE: While Sharon is in North Carolina I am currently at Angler’s Retreat in Rockport Texas until at least mid May…