Views of the Neighborhood – Harvey Update

I started out to capture the after photos of some of the places that I have featured on my blog. As you’ll recall, almost all of the photos shown were colorful and full of fun. After taking a number of the after shots, I simply stopped. Seeing these places as they appear now doesn’t capture the spirit of our town. The photos depict loss and sadness and are difficult to view. These are places of business and people’s homes and as such very personal spaces. I do not feel comfortable with an invasion of those private moments of challenge that a photo would represent.

Sadness is not what is left of Port Aransas. We still have the spirit to rebuild. I’m going to wait until the new, colorful, and fun Port A emerges. I’ll tell that story when available.

In the meantime, I will focus on the best we have to offer.

The Poly Anna

Here is a shot of the shrimp boat Polly Anna. The owners John and Molly rode out the storm and were able to bring her back home. She flies her flag proudly.

Texas Flag

Over the destruction in the marina flies the symbol of the spirit of our town and state. The flag stands for hope and the promise each of us must make not to give up.

Thank you for reading.


  1. I don’t blame you for not wanting to show pictures of the destruction, John. I’ve seen so much destruction in the Caribbean Islands it’ll last me for a while. It’s wonderful the shrimp boat made it through. I hope the rebuilding will be swift and thorough. The government seems willing to give a good amount of money toward that end. Also, companies and individuals are donating so there’s a lot to look forward to. All the best in getting the repairs to your home finished. 🙂 — Suzanne

    1. Thank you, Suzanne.

  2. So, the boat owners were on the boat and out at sea? I’d heard of people doing that and just wanted to make sure I read that right. Sounds terrifying.

    1. They were. The boat got caught and then came back to a dock and crashed. They described it as being in a cyclone.

      1. Definitely scary. Hope nobody was hurt.

      2. They were fine. Had three dogs on board too.

  3. Gwen Plano · ·

    Beautiful reflection, John. Your focus on hope and your respect for the privacy of others is truly inspirational. Tragedy is both collective and very personal – you’ve brought that point home to all who read your post. May blessings abound.

    1. Thank you, Gwen. I can’t help but tear up when I see how some are suffering.yet smiling through it all.

  4. Well John, it’s pretty obvious that the best Port Aransas has to offer is inside the people who call it home.

    Peace and better days my friend

    1. So true, Pilgrim. I talked to a woman who was volunteering at the pet shelter. She was staying there because she had no where else to go. It broke my heart that she was in such dire straights but still giving.

      1. That’s the living definition of selfless. God bless her.

  5. That flag says it all.

    1. It does. It took my breath away when I first saw it. I hope it gives others strength as well.

  6. This post reinforces what I’ve always known about you John, you’re a class act.

    1. Aw. Thank you, Jill. Hugs.

    2. Exactly – I concur, Jill.

  7. Yes, never give up. The flag makes quite a statement. I can’t imagine heading out to sea to ride out the storm. Scary!

    1. They were blown in a circle and ended up crashing into a dock. Sturdy boat though.

      1. It must have been!

  8. Good morning, John!
    I’m glad the Polly Anna survived by riding out the storm. Now that’s something I wouldn’t have thought of. Sturdy boat and intrepid souls on board. I had been wondering how the boats in the marina fared. If their owners had taken them out of harm’s way.
    Let’s hope Port A will be restored to its former self, even if that will take a long time I suppose. Glad you down there are keeping your spirits up, as that flag shows.
    Have a wonderful Sunday,

    1. I have some shots of the sunken boats. I would say those who did not find a safe harbor lost their boat. By last count that number was 66. It will take time but rebuild PA will.

      1. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  9. John, I fully support your thoughtful and empathetic decision about the photos. I think we can imagine the destruction from all the pictures we’ve witnessed on the TV news. How wonderful that your neighbors and fellow citizens of Port A are full of courage and resilience. I hope to see the pictures of the rebuilt Port A very soon.

    1. Thank you, Michael.

  10. You have captured the spirit of Port A with these photos. Somehow I didn’t think that you would post photos of the destruction. I saw enough in today’s CC Caller-Times. The people that live there are tough and love it. They (and you) will recover. We always enjoy visiting and taking visitors there via the ferry. Cheers on this Sunday!

    I would not want anyone to take photos of our street right now as it is still piled high with tree limbs, trash and the remains of downed fences.

    1. I wouldn’t want them to take mine either, Jo. What a mess. Thanks. Cheers to you as well.

  11. D.L Finn, Author · ·

    I understand and admire that you are avoiding the negative aspect of the storm– and wanting to focus on the rebuilding and recovery.

    1. Thank you, DL. It is not fun seeing the town in such a mess. I think the future will be a better story.

  12. Reblogged this on Jan Hawke INKorporated and commented:
    Good call from John Howell in his ‘post-Harvey’ view of the neighbourhood, capturing the determined, indomitable spirit of Mustang Island in the aftermath! 😀

  13. jhawker1969 · ·

    Thanks for this update, John. What about your own abode? As I recall it’s still standing, but you have some work to do.

    1. We had a damaged roof, siding, and floors. The house is livable and so we are preparing and living. Thanks, Ron.

  14. Focusing on the positive is the best you can do. Our hearts are with you.

    1. Thank you Jan. 🙂

  15. Thank you, John. I’m sure Port A — and the rest of the state — will rebuild, bigger and better than ever. In the meantime, no sense pandering to idle curiosity (though I doubt any of your lovely readers would fall into that crass group!). Odd, we keep hearing about Florida but little of Texas. Y’all must have chased away all the journalists until you have something good to show the world!!

    1. It is the fifteen minutes of fame stuff that journalists are so good at portraying. I wish they would tell the story of the woman who volunteers at the pet shelter and now lives there because her home is gone. She still takes care of the animals,als even though her life has changed. Amazing.

      1. That’s a story that should be told!

  16. Thanks John. This is a pleasant break from the endless scenes of devestation the main stream media wants to share. I doubt they’ll be back for the happy ending. I’ll count on you to deliver that when available.

    Good luck to you and all your neighbors.

    1. Thanks, Dan. There is a can-do attitude that that flag represents. If you think about it, the working crane is left for the weekend with a symbol of hope. Gotta love the construction guys and the crane operator.

      1. You know how I feel about cranes 🏗

      2. I do. If you were standing where I was, you would have wept at the beauty of the sight. Crane and all.

  17. You’re a good man, John. If it were my house, I’d want to put my best foot forward. Hope the recovery is swift.

    1. We have the government here to help us. Couldn’t be any slower.

  18. Amazing the shrimp boaters made it thru so well….and with doggies on board. I doubt they would willingly desire to go thru that again tho. I agree that there are just some things that the world should not be privy to. The sadness I have seen on Cujoe and Big Palm Keys is almost to much to bear. I’ve seen things I wished I had not. It’s like not being able to un-ring a bell. That being said, knowing the house on Matlacha weathered the storm makes me all the more eager to get into it. People say we are crazy and they are probably correct, but I stopped worrying about what other people think of me a long time ago. What other people think of me is really none of my business.

    1. I think you have the right attitude. I have those bells every day. Like you I would love to un-ring them. Saw a sign today, “Free Food and Hugs.” This is our community.

  19. John, please know I’m praying for the safe and steady rebuild of your beautiful island. My thoughts are with you guys. I am glad you’re home. ♡

    1. Thank you, Audrey.

  20. Beyond commendable, John. It sounds like the town has such a strong community spirit. Something missing from a lot of places these days.

    1. It is so true. It was here before the storm.

  21. Well said John! I think the greatest asset of the Port Aransas is the people and their spirit! What a wonderful and inspiring message you’re sharing this morning.

    1. Thank you, Deborah.

  22. I agree John. After Irma hit Florida, people were out immediately cleaning up and rebuilding. Our states are used to getting pounded by nature and then helping each other out. At 9AM, the morning after Irma hit, there was a knock on our front door. It was my next door neighbors. They have a generator and brought us coffee and said, “let’s get busy” when we were done drinking it. Our damage was minor compared to many so when we were done we set out to help those that were worse off. That’s what a community does.

    1. It does, Don. Thanks.

  23. I agree, John. In the face of destruction, everyone needs time to heal. I am inspired by your heartfelt message and continue to pray for all those who have faced loss during this horrible hurricane season.

    1. Thank you, Michelle. Beautiful words of encouragement.

  24. Deeply moving and humbling to see the flag, John. It’s a powerful, poignant testimony of resilience. Blessings to all.

    1. Thank you, Natalie. It was a tearful moment.

  25. Such a beautiful reflection of what happened in your part of the world, John. I’m very moved by your words. It makes such a huge difference to what I see and hear on the news. You’re a pillar of strength in Port Aransas.

    1. Thank you, Hugh. There are so many pillars here it is amazing.

  26. Your respect for other people’s privacy speaks volumes and shows real honor, John. Thank you for that.

    1. Thanks, Lesley. Sometimes the sights in the view finder were too painful to capture.

      1. I can’t even imagine.

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