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Is there still a Galveston?

13 September 2008

(Houston Chronicle photo by Johnny Hansen of the memorial to the victims of the 1900 hurricane that killed 8 to 12,000 people out of what was then a population of about 40,000).

Galveston was a link between French New Orleans and Spanish Veracruz (founded by the pre-NAFTA international trader Jean Lafitte… ok, he was a pirate) and is not just a beach resort, but a still important working city — with oil and chemical plants nearby, as well as medical research facilities, including a tropical medicine hospital with a population of about 60,000. Or was. The 20,000 or so who did not evacuate are on their own. It’s an island, and the bridge is closed.

The city is protected by a sand dune, about a third of which is already gone, and the nearby “suburb” of Surfside was wiped out.

“God help you, we can’t,” City Manager Steve Le Blanc said before hunkering down and closing city services.

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