Cathedral grad safe, dry in Houston suburb

‘Everybody is helping everybody,’ teacher’s daughter says

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Mrs. Brittany Evans ’05 posted this image of a flooded Texas interstate on social media.

Lauren Smith, Reporter

Photo updated Sept. 1 at 12:20 p.m.

When Hurricane Harvey hit Texas during the weekend of Aug. 26-27, it endangered the lives of many, and spread tragedy across the region for the next several days.

Mrs. Brittany Evans ‘05, a Cathedral graduate also known as English teacher Mrs. Melinda Bundy’s daughter, lives in Richmond, Texas, which is 45 minutes southwest of Houston.

Evans said, “It’s hard to imagine how big Houston is. We’re the fourth largest city in the country. Houston and the surrounding cities are larger than the state of New Jersey. It’s hard to imagine the size, the square miles, that have actually been impacted, and what you’re seeing on the news is absolutely devastating.”

She continued, “Everybody is not exactly going through that. My family has been extremely, extremely fortunate that we have not had flooding. We had a little bit of water one night, but otherwise our house has not been threatened, but within our own neighborhood, people have had to be rescued by the National Guard and by boats.”

During a cell phone conversation on the afternoon of Aug. 30, Evans said, “While the hurricane is gone from Houston right now, it’s not getting better in all areas because the reservoirs and the rivers are overflowing out of their banks. For the reservoirs, (workers) are having to open dams and release wate,r and the only place for it to go is towards people’s homes. That’s happening about 10 miles from us.”

Regarding her daughter and her family, Bundy said, “My concerns are obviously the flooding that with a new baby (Bundy’s grandchild) that they are not stranded someplace where they need to be rescued and that they have enough food and supplies to last them.”  

Luckily, Evans’ family has been safe, but there the devastation is prevalent.

Evans said, “We are definitely counting ourselves as extremely, extremely fortunate. We are hoping once everything gets cleared, we can go out and help all those people who are not as fortunate, but right now we are just kind of hunkering down and trying to stay as safe as possible.”

For Evans, Cathedral impacted her to feel its same sense of community where she is now.

She said, “Going to Cathedral and knowing how long my mom has been there, I grew up with Cathedral, and so my neighborhood is especially like that (feel of community). The city of Houston has really been like that, and especially recently, the country has been divided about some things. One of the biggest things that has come out of (the hurricane) is all of that has gone away

“Nobody cares what your race, your religion, your sex, anything is. Also immigration status, because that’s a big issue down here. Everybody doesn’t care. Everybody is helping everybody with absolutely anything they need. People are coming from all over rescuing people.”

According to Evans, while she thinks her family will be safe from the hurricane, they have still taken precautions. “Starting two or three days ago, we moved a lot of our furniture and valuables and everything to the second floor, so that if water did start building we could grab the necessities: our dogs, food, our son obviously, and that stuff and go upstairs and take refuge up there.”

The Evans family also purchased a generator, 120 pounds of ice and extra food and water.

Throughout the country, a lot of people are upset about why there was not an evacuation because that is one precaution they could prepare for before something devastating like this happened.

Evans said, “The fact is that there are six and a half million people, and you can’t evacuate six and a half million people.”

While some people took precautions, others were not prepared. Evans said, “People couldn’t or didn’t prepare properly because most of the time the news was projecting this to be at highest a CAT 1 hurricane. The highest they ever really projected was a low CAT 3, so everyone was very caught off guard. It developed faster and stronger than anyone could have predicted.”

Evans continued, “One thing people may not know is that inside a hurricane there are a lot of tornadoes. There were so many tornado warnings that we slept on the floor in a hallway for three nights. Houston does not have tornado sirens, so our phones would just blare alerts every 30 to 45 minutes all night. It was easier and safer to sleep in the hallway than to get up and get the baby every time it went off.”

Most impactful, according to Evans, is the widespread devastation. “It was very eye-opening that a lot of people that experienced Katrina (12 years ago in New Orleans) moved to Houston, and now they are going through it all over again, and I can’t even imagine that.”

Evans said, “One of the big things that I think is going to happen, just from my experience, is that we have so many people from all over the country coming to help right now, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that in a month or two a lot of those people are going to leave, and it’s going to take years to rebuild. Everybody wants to send stuff; everybody wants to help out right now, and while people do need help right now, people are going to need help next year. People are going to need help constantly because so many people have lost their homes.”

If anyone would like to help out those who have been affected by this tragedy, Evans said, “Keep everyone down here in thoughts and prayers. If you want to donate you can go to these links: https://www.redcross.org/donate/hurricane-harvey or youcaring.com/jjwatt.”

The second donation website was created by a Houston Texan football player, and Evans said, “He is very devoted to the city, and 100 percent of that money is guaranteed to go to the relief efforts.”

Regarding efforts that have already been made, Evans said, “Obviously the power of social media is so strong right now, but you can’t get on anything right now down here without it being flood, flood, flood; people asking for help, people asking for food and anybody will help anybody, and it’s amazing. All the pettiness just goes away, and it’s really amazing to see the good in people that has come out.”