It’s been one week since the wrath of Hurricane Ike ravaged the Southeast Texas coast line.

If you drive down the streets in Bridge City today, there is an ever growing pile of ruined carpets, furniture, bedding and memories in front of almost every house. The entire county was effected, but it will take Bridge City the longest to recover with over 99 percent of the businesses and homes destroyed when the salt water storm surge came rushing in Saturday morning.

Those that stayed to ride out the storm thought they had it made. Around 7 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008, water started seeping into homes. Levels rose quickly. The water entered just as quickly in Orange and other communities such as Rose City.

As the waves returned to the sea, fish were left high and dry, sometimes found inside buildings. Cars in Rose City acted like shrimp nets capturing many of the delicacies. Bank vaults were rusted shut. A thick layer of mud and marsh grass was left in the streets, on top of cars, and in homes.

Some homes had six to eight feet of water in them, while others only had a few inches. ANY water in a house is devastating as floors have to be ripped out, damaged sheetrock and paneling has to be removed; re-wiring the entire home is necessary if the water gets as high as the electrical outlets, because the salt water eats the copper wire.

It is still too early to know what the costs of damages are, but it will be in the millions. The county has a long way to go on the road to recovery and Bridge City has the longest journey.

Judge Carl Thibodeaux and all of the mayors, including Bridge City Mayor Kirk Roccaforte, are working diligently to get the help needed. They will not rest until the citizens of Orange County get the support needed and a temporary housing solution.

Their first goal is to get the kids back in school. Officials realize if they don’t get the students’ education back underway, they will lose an untold amount of children which could be a death blow to Bridge City.

There will be a Town Hall meeting in Bridge City, at three p.m., Sunday, Sept. 21 at the Community Center.

Volunteers and a great amount of assistance will be needed from FEMA or some other organization to return Bridge City to the viable, thriving community it was before Ike covered the area in water and muck.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.