Post Harvey

Nehemia's Vision Inc. received $100,000 in funding for recovery efforts

By Kevin King Contributing Editor The Foundation for Southeast Texas announced the recipients of the second round of grants from the $1.5 million Golden Pass Hurricane Harvey Recovery Fund on Tuesday, June 5. The grants will provide $320,000 to local organizations to support hurricane relief and mitigation efforts in Jefferson, Hardin and Orange counties. “This had a huge impact on our community,” said Mellie Bevilacqua, executive director of the Foundation for Southeast Texas.

William Boutte pictured with unfinished construction

In last week’s edition of The Examiner, the newspaper exposed two situations in which contractors failed to finish work on Southeast Texas homes. One of those contractors highlighted in last week’s story — silent at first — now wants to answer some of the charges levied against him, and the Port Arthur Police Department (PAPD), warning the public about citizens’ ongoing difficulty with construction contractors, is explaining the difference between civil and criminal complaints.

Contractors answer claims

Rep. Kevin Brady

Those who made unreimbursed hurricane-related repairs will be eligible for thousands of dollars more than usual in post-disaster tax breaks as the storm season comes to a close and tax season starts thanks to a bill signed into law shortly after multiple hurricanes struck the U.S. late in 2017. In addition, those using retirement plan savings to make repairs will also see a break when they report to the IRS, as will many who gave to hurricane relief charitable organizations.

JCAD Chief Appraiser Angela Bellard

Southeast Texas streets lined with family heirlooms, belongings that took a lifetime to amass, objects once treasured now turned to trash with the torrential rainfall wrought by Hurricane Harvey, are now streets lined with homes that are worth only a fraction of what they were prior to the August storm. Still, unless homeowners report the damage to the proper appraisal district, home valuations used in calculating property taxes will not reflect the accurate value of the damaged property.

Benton's Up Front

The Pompano Club is no more. Hurricane Harvey caused nearly a foot of water to flood the establishment and shut it down.

“The Pompano Club was a private dining club. You had to be a member to come eat or you had to be with a member. We had dancing. We had a live band that played. It used to be every night and then we dropped it down to Thursdays and Saturdays and then we dropped it down to Saturdays,” said Sean Schneider, who has worked for the Pompano Club for more than 23 years.

Times change, however, and so does clientele.

William Boutte next to unfinished post Harvey work

As Southeast Texans continue to rebuild their lives and their homes four months after Hurricane Harvey’s destructive flooding, some homeowners are struggling to get local contractors who didn’t keep their promises to give them their money back.

Port Arthur Blue Santa bringing gifts to families affected by Harvey

After going through some of the worst of Harvey’s unprecedented flooding, the Port Arthur Police Department tried to bring a little Christmas cheer with Blue Santa Dec. 22.

A long line formed outside The Department Club on Lakeshore Drive near Lamar State College-Port Arthur where Port Arthur Police Department (PAPD) officers and volunteers were handing out gifts inside. A volunteer stood outside, letting in just a few families at a time.

Some of the families were leaving in tears of joy, but the kids rolling away on brand new bicycles were grinning from ear to ear.

Man [Jeremy Smith] sitting in FEMA trailer smiling next to dog

Harvey devastated Southeast Texas neighborhoods over four months ago, but many families are spending the holidays displaced.

The Jefferson County Commissioner’s Court discussed implementing a blanket permitting system Dec. 4 to speed up delivery of direct housing units — more commonly referred to as “FEMA trailers.” Multiple FEMA mobile homes were being delivered the week ending Dec. 22 to a staging area on Martin Luther King Parkway just south of Lamar University.

A child praying at Bicycles and Bibles 2017

Hurricane Harvey brought dark times to Southeast Texas. It affected families of every demographic and every socioeconomic status. But Saturday, Dec. 16, a shimmer of hope shined through the darkness for more than 1,000 families, a majority of whom were impacted by the storm in some form or fashion. 

In its 18th year, Bicycles and Bibles continued to bring Christmas to those less fortunate, and 2017, a year many would soon like to forget, was no exception.

Cars stretch for blocks around the Southeast Texas Food Bank

Lines of cars blocked both directions of MLK Parkway for about a mile around the Southeast Texas Food Bank right after Hurricane Harvey hit, executive director Dan Maher said.

While Beaumont was like an island surrounded by floodwaters, those in need were able to come directly to the food bank for food and water instead of going to one of the many churches and community centers on the Jefferson County food pantry distribution list.