| GALVESTON, Texas, Sept 14
GALVESTON, Texas, Sept 14 The bridge to
Galveston Island is littered with yachts, kitchen tables and a
large drowned dog. One couple flees to the Texas mainland on
foot, their belongings stuffed into a baby stroller.
Despite living in a place known for a legendary hurricane
in 1900 that killed 8,000 people, residents of Galveston are
stunned by what Hurricane Ike has done to their lives.
Shunta Celestine rode out the storm with her three children
in a brick home that she thought would survive Ike's fury when
it made landfall early on Saturday.
It did hold but she lost her two cars and most everything
inside the home.
"The water filled up so fast, everyone tried to go to higher
ground, but it seemed the higher you got, the higher the water
went," said Celestine as tears ran down her face.
"It was hell. We climbed on to the table, deep freezers,
anything we could get on and then we prayed."
Block after block of the historic coastal community are
flooded with a putrid mix of sewage and sea water.
Andrew Rourke, a firefighter, was on the island during the
storm, got off duty at dawn on Sunday and came by his father's
house to see how I fared.
"I expected to find some debris in the yard," said Rourke.
"But this house is gone."
"The pictures are the only thing we can save, the rest is
It is not known how many of the beach city's 60,000
residents ignored the mandatory evacuation order but thousands
are believed to have stayed behind.
Many harked back to their luck in 2005 when Hurricane Rita
prompted a large-scale evacuation but spared Galveston, making
landfall 100 miles (160 km) to the east.
After Ike, some 2,000 residents have asked to be evacuated
from the island, state officials said.
Celestine does not have food or water or power and the
children walk around the water-soaked living room in a daze.
Her neighbor Brittney Majors came to the rescue with
emergency meals and water. She moved to Galveston just a few
months ago and works at Whataburger, a fast-food chain.
"Everything I had is gone," Majors said. "I have the
clothes on my back, shoes on my feet. That's what I've got."
(Writing by Mary Milliken; Editing by John O'Callaghan)