The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Dispatch from Lamar

Dispatch from Lamar

As a communications – film student at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas I was thrilled to be starting my junior year. It was the week classes were going to start when Hurricane Harvey came. Harvey unleashed an unrelenting downpour of rain that drenched every inch of my psyche. I would’ve never thought that instead of going to my first weeks of classes I would be gutting my home.

Over two days I became a paranoid, sleepless wreck, and instead of worrying about classes I watched the floodwaters creep closer and closer to my doorstep. Looking outside every hour to see the relentless water close in around my home. Unfortunately, that paranoia was realized when the floodwaters rose into our garage. I knew that soon the water would be lapping at our door. Over the course of an hour my family attempted to safeguard our most valuable belongings, and pack two trucks while wading through knee-deep water to escape our home. As we were leaving the floodwaters began to seep through the walls of my home. I can only characterize that moment as surreal.

Flood Waters Receding around Tyler Hargraves Family Home in Beaumont (Photo courtesy of Tyler Hargraves).

The image of my home being overtaken by water as I waited on the side of the road has been seared into my brain. The despair that filled me as I looked around my rural town of Fannett, Texas as it lay shrouded in darkness made life seem void of meaning and hope. My family decided to evacuate through Beaumont, Texas, which is normally a busy city, but that morning there was only water and desolation. When we arrived at our place of refuge my right hand was sore from the death grip on the steering wheel, but I was finally free from the waters.

After twenty-four hours without sleep I finally dozed off for roughly an hour. Numerous friends messaging me to see how I was faring interrupted that short, violent rest. Informing them that my home had been overtaken by the destructive floodwaters felt almost as surreal as watching the water breach the walls themselves. The following night I was visited by a cathartic dream of myself examining the aftermath of the floods.  That was soon interrupted by a phone call from my father informing me that my grandmother’s home was about to be flooded, and I was needed to help.

Drywall and water damaged items outside Tyler Hargraves Family Home in Beaumont (Photo courtesy of Tyler Hargraves).

When I arrived I saw the beauty of humanity, approximately thirty people were helping my grandmother try and save her home. There were men laying down sandbags, women moving belongings, and even children carrying plates. Throughout all of the chaos of those few days it was these small acts of kindness that made me smile, and gave me the sliver of hope that I needed to press on.

Arriving back at my home a week after the destruction took place was disturbingly peaceful. The floors contained puddles of water, and you could see the waterline at one foot against the wall. Walking into my room was painful. I spent my life from high school to college in that same room, and now it was tainted by the storm. I found where I stored my personal letters before the water came. Touching that dry paper was cathartic, and I let out a sigh. I was ready to start anew.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Hawk News

Your donation will support the student journalists of St. Joseph's University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Hawk News

Comments (0)

All The Hawk News Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *