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Where Things Stand In Texas


Recovery efforts after Hurricane Harvey are underway on the southeast Texas coast, where the weather is hot and dry and rescue helicopters are buzzing overhead.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Brian Mann is in Beaumont this morning. Good morning, Brian.

BRIAN MANN, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You were in Port Arthur much of yesterday, I understand. It's one of the towns still hardest hit by Harvey. What did you see?

MANN: Well, it is really hard still - sort of half-ghost town, half-floodzone. I walked down completely empty streets, drove through neighborhoods where people are just gone - flood damage everywhere. I visited a couple of very full shelters. People saying they're waiting for a clear idea of where to go next. And I talked with Al Gillen. He's with Port Arthur police.

AL GILLEN: I'm going to venture a guess - 99 percent of the city is damaged one way or another. As far as the city infrastructure, city vehicles - that whole barn is under water. I went out there by boat - and a whole fleet underwater.

MANN: He's talking there about all the vehicles a city needs to operate - everything from street cleaners to cop cars. They're just flooded.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How are people holding up, given the scale of this recovery?

MANN: Well, there's frustration. You know, things are moving slow because water levels are still high, especially along the Natchez River. I walked through a flooded graveyard yesterday, where the river's flowing through a historic burial ground. But, you know, people are incredibly tough. I hear folks talking about their faith, about their communities and their neighbors. They're frustrated and want to get home. But, you know, there are a ton of volunteers. That's a cool thing here. They're showing up to help. Listen to this one encounter that I had.

KALA MILTON: Kala Milton.

JUDY BAYHEM: Judy Bayhem.

MILTON: We live - we're from Denham Springs, La., and...

BAYHEM: Walker, La.

MANN: Tell me what what you're doing. What's your contribution?

MILTON: We brought in about two pallets full of water, diapers, dog food, wipes, supplies in general.

BAYHEM: Supplies.

MILTON: And now we're helping serve the city workers officials, making sure they get fed.

MANN: Why did you think it was important to come do this?

BAYHEM: Because we experienced this last year in our hometown, and we wanted to help out.

MILTON: My house flooded last year. I had about five foot of water in my house. And we know how it feels.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: This is really one of the most heartening things that you see in this disaster. Brian, I know Texas Governor Greg Abbott is saying that big parts of south Texas are back open for business again, trying to get a sense of normalcy. What are you seeing there?

MANN: You know, a big part of the economic hit from a disaster like this is that things just shut down. And I'm still driving through whole business districts that are just dark. A lot of them don't have water. That means no jobs, people without paychecks. So there's a scramble to get things going again by the end of this holiday weekend. And, actually, I ran into a guy named Ryan Guess in a little town called Nederland, Texas. He's just a local computer repair man. But he's scrambling to salvage all those computers flooded by Harvey so companies can reopen.

RYAN GUESS: Businesses like car repair shops - Completely flooded. And they're ready to get back up and running so they can start helping all those other flooded cars.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. It seems like a lot of pieces have come together all at once as people get their lives started again. Brian Mann is in Beaumont, Texas. Thank you so much, Brian.

MANN: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Brian Mann
Brian Mann is NPR's first national addiction correspondent. He also covers breaking news in the U.S. and around the world.
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