Residents of Galveston Island were allowed to come back briefly for a “look and leave” Monday, Sept. 15, but the island was still without electricity, phone service, water or essential supplies. According to Dolph Tillotson of the Galveston County Daily News, West Galveston, the Bolivar Peninsula and downtown businesses seem to have suffered the worst damage from Hurricane Ike. Images posted on slideshows at Galveston.com show hip-high water downtown and crumbling hotels. Surveying the island, Tillotson reported many businesses and residences along 61st Street and Seawall Boulevard in need of cleanup, but surprisingly unscathed. Galveston.com has set up forums for people to communicate, locate loved ones and volunteer for cleanup efforts.
In Houston, residents are still under curfew, and the legendary restaurant Brennan’s of Houston burned down. But overall, Ike’s impact on the city was superficial. Here’s an update of the status of businesses serving the meeting and convention industry:
- At the Georgia R. Brown Convention Center, three ground floor exhibit halls are being used as temporary staging areas. Conventions originally scheduled for Sept. 18-22 have been rescheduled.
- Wind damage to Reliant Park is currently being assessed, and events scheduled for Sept. 15-22 have been canceled. The campus — Houston’s most popular site for trade shows, conventions, and sports and entertainment events — is temporarily the site of relief efforts, which are scheduled to conclude by Oct. 8.
- The recently completed 12-acre, urban park Discovery Green sustained no damage and is open to the public, but some events have been canceled. The Toyota Center and Minute Maid Park are open for all scheduled events.
- The majority of Houston’s 500 hotels were unscathed. The rest had minimal water damage.
- All domestic and international flights have resumed to and from George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport. Continental Airlines is offering $69 fares each way for the hurricane-affected region.
- By the end of the week, Yellow Cab, the largest cab company in Houston, expects to have 95 percent of its fleet operational. Currently, it’s operating at 70 percent (800 cars).
- The Children’s Museum of Houston and the Houston Zoo will reopen on Wednesday, Sept. 17.
- The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, will reopen Thursday, Sept. 18.
- Space Center Houston will be closed until Saturday, Sept. 20.
- The Houston Museum of Natural Science is closed. Reopening date is TBD.