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News of the
Gulf Coast Region

Hurricane Rita 
September 24,


The Calm Before The Storm

Hurricane Rita moved ashore at Sabine Pass, Texas after midnight on the morning of September 24, 2005.

These photos were taken on Thursday, September 22.  Galveston was preparing for a Category 4 or 5 Hurricane.

At noon that day a City Hall News Conference was disrupted by Fletcher Harris, who was upset that the city did not take advantage of a railroad car provided for evacuees; he was escorted from the meeting by uniformed officers.  Listen Podcast Photos

At a news conference later in the day, City Manager Steve LeBlanc was giddy at predictions that Rita would move her anticipated devastation to Jefferson County.  Listen  Download

Mayors and County Judges Order Mandatory Evacuation

Friday, September 23, 2005 -- Guidry News Service moved its operations to the Galveston County Emergency Operations Center in League City, which was designed to withstand a Category 5 Hurricane.

Jim Guidry was interviewed on CKNW in Vancouver, British Colombia.  Listen

Leaving Galveston Island for a hurricane threat was a first for Guidry News Service.  We published a special message to our visitors.  Message

Jim Guidry reported from the Gulf Freeway on the ride to League City,  Listen  Download

Guidry was interviewed on CKNW in Vancouver, British Colombia while he was en route to League City.  Listen 

The Galveston County Building on Highway 645 in League City, which houses the Galveston County Emergency Operations Center, also houses the National Weather Service and the Galveston County Emergency Communications District.  Galveston County Judge Jim Yarbrough, who developed a county-wide cooperative emergency management team, was in the building for its first hurricane.  Listen

Galveston Mayor Pro Tem Joe Jaworski, Fleet Manager David Smith and Assistant City Manager Lloyd Renderer weathered the storm at the Galveston County Office of Emergency Management.  Listen

Jaworski's services proved valuable to the county-wide coordination when fires erupted in Galveston and firefighters were called out to battle an inferno driven by hurricane force winds.  Listen   Download

Galveston Mayor Pro Tem Jaworski updated reporters on the fires.  Listen 

Kemah City Administrator Bill Kerber was also at the EOC.  Listen

Hurricane Rita made landfall at the Sabine River.  Meteorologist in Charge of the Houston-Galveston Weather Service Office Bill Read reported that Galveston County was spared hurricane force winds.  Listen  

Saturday, September 25, 2005 -- Galveston County Sheriff Gean Leonard reported that his deputies had a relatively quiet night, but were preparing to go out to assess damage.  Listen

As the winds diminished to gale force, Jim Guidry returned to Galveston Island.  Here is his report en route from the Galveston County Emergency Operations Center and the Guidry News Service Office on Church Street.  Listen

After the Hurricane  

Guidry News Service surveyed the damage at Yaga's and at the Anderson Studio.

Jim Guidry interviewed Galveston businessman Beau Rawlins on 23rd Street while the pair looked at Saengerfest Park.  Listen

Galveston photographer Robert Mihovil provided photos.  Click

Saengerfest Park before Rita 

Guidry was interviewed by Dana Dixon of KLTV in Tyler, Texas; then he interviewed her.  Listen

Dixon was curious about Yaga's Restaurant and Saengerfest Park.  These photos were published on the Fourth of July. 


Sunday Morning, September 26, 2005

Eliot Jennings in the Galveston County Emergency Operations Center reports that residents of Galveston are being allowed to return to the island.  Listen

Galveston Public Information Officer Mary Jo Naschke reports that residents can come home, but warned that many city services would not be available.  Listen

Visit to Bolivar

Naschke reported that the Bolivar Ferry is running and the San Luis Pass Bridge was open.  Listen

Jim and Lynda Guidry reported from the Bolivar Peninsula that there was some damage to buildings and beach houses but not as bad as some had expected.  Listen

Back on the Island Sunday Afternoon

Galveston Island evacuees who left on city and Galveston Independent School District buses were welcomed home by Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas and GISD Superintendent Lynn Hale.


September 26, 2005 11:30 a.m

Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas, City Manager Steve LeBlanc, Galveston Independent School District Superintendent Lynn Hale and CenterPoint Service Manager David Murphy briefed the news media on the aftermath of Rita.  


Throughout the threat of Hurricane Rita, when Mayor Thomas assumed management of the city under emergency authority approved by the city council, she was advised by her special assistant Elise Stevens.
September 26, 2005 -- A power crisis was averted on Galveston Island thanks to UTMB reducing its load.  CenterPoint Service Manager David Murphy reported. Listen

Texas State Senator Kyle Janek, in Galveston, talked to Guidry News Service about the situation in Jefferson County.  Listen

Jamaica Beach Mayor Vic Pierson reported that his West Galveston Island City fared well through Rita.  Listen

KUDOs for Guidry News Service from Vandy Anderson, in a conversation that begins with Joe Higgins.  Listen

September 27, 2005 -- Galveston Park Board of Trustees Executive Director Lou Muller reported that Galveston's beach parks came out o.k. Listen

September 28, 2005

Jim and Lynda Guidry made a quick trip to Port Arthur and Beaumont.  

The photos were taken in Downtown Beaumont and in the Port Acres area of Port Arthur.

September 29, 2005

Galveston Historical Foundation suffered minor damage during Rita; however one window of the Historic Customs House was blown out during the fire at Anderson Gallery in the old Eagle's Hall less than one block away.  Guidry News Service was allowed to cover a GHF staff meeting.  Listen  

Lloyd Thomas, who manages the Great Storm Theatre, evacuated to Fort Polk, Louisiana, which he described as Ground Zero.  Listen
September 30, 2005

Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas pointed the finger of blame at Texas Governor Rick Perry for long lines of traffic during the evacuation of Galveston Island during the threat of Hurricane Rita. 

Listen  Podcast  Story