It’s almost a normal day in the Cove, the east Orange community near the Sabine that runs roughly from Alabama Street to the Adams Bayou Bridge on DuPont Drive. It’s almost a normal day. 

Shipyard workers drop in to get their daily sandwich specials at Veterans’ Grocery, and might pick up a Three Musketeers bar near the register. The place opened in 1945 and still doesn’t take ATM cards.

Almost normal, but outside the signs offer another tale. 

Need some trees cut? Home remodeled? 

How about flood insurance? Just call the number and thank Hurricane Ike.

“We did good,” says Kathryn Knox, who runs the place with her sister Karen Caillier. “The water didn’t even come in the door. I put a paper towel down on the floor mat and that’s all it took.”

Others like Annette Payne, who lives near the old Cove School, are considered “lucky” because they had flood insurance. She still lost everything inside the home she shares with her husband Bobby.

They got about three feet of water inside, less than most because the house, like the grocery store, was built on piers. 

“We evacuated north to the Little Cypress area, and took our boat with us,” she says. “Later we put it in at the corner of 10th and John to return to the house. We’ve cut all the walls up.” 

She got lots of pictures, and took them to her daughter Michelle Flowers’ house in Bridge City, one of the 30 or so homes that didn’t flood there. 

Not without a sense of humor, Michelle put them on her MySpace page with the heading, “Let Ike Re-arrange Your Furniture.”

“Our yard was so contaminated,” Payne said. “We found six garbage bags of dead fish washed up.” She adds, however, that the Cove’s condition is not as bad as town gossip would have it.

“I don’t think we’re really wiped-out,” she says. “It’s just that there are so many there who didn’t have flood insurance and may not come back. And there are so many elderly people who have no family to help them tear down or fix-up a house.”

Another Cove resident, Joyce Caillier, a former in-law of Karen Caillier, had to be rescued from her home on the morning of Ike but somewhat understandably says she “ … would rather not talk about it.”

For now, she lives with a relative in Lumberton. She does not have flood insurance and describes her house as “totalled,” but perhaps best typifies the resiliency of the people of the Cove.

“I’m going back,” she says. “We may not have something like this for another 100 years.”