Hurricane Rita – Then and Now

Hurricane Rita – Then and Now

Today, residents of Southeast Texas can look around at area homes, businesses, and landscape without noticing apparent signs of the damage that occurred during that massive, destructive storm 10 years ago. Though a handful of roof tarps and downed trees linger, the community appears largely healed. However, a few archived photos remind us of the devastation endured by recognizable establishments across the Golden Triangle during Hurricane Rita.

Take the Hollywood Theater on Dowlen Road; the venue, now owned by Regal Star, that caters to our local film fanatics suffered a significant amount of outward damage during Rita. Though the damage was mostly cosmetic in nature, it required an intense overhaul of the front of the building. With a more updated look, it still holds the original, contemporary charm it originally portrayed, but at a tremendous cost to the establishment.

The First Presbyterian Church in Orange, with its recognizable architecture, suffered wind damage to its dome and even had pieces of the stained glass windows removed. While one could assume the buckled portion of the façade required minor renovation, church officials stated not only was the replacement costly, but the treatment to initiate the oxidation process (to match the color and tone of the rest of the building) was cumbersome at best, and took years to fully process.

Iconic photos from the days and weeks following Rita remind us of the extent to which her wind and battering rain altered the appearances of buildings and establishments young and old. A decade later, there are few if any outward signs of ruin, of the fallen and broken structures that symbolized of our united sense of loss.