THE COASTAL BEND MAGAZINE • January/February 2018 29 28 THE COASTAL BEND MAGAZINE • January/February 2018 28 TEXAS COASTAL BEND TOUR GUIDE • Late Summer 2017 Editor Presenting the Words of a Ghost January‑February 2018 This magazine should not exist. For five-and-a-half years we published the Texas Coastal Bend Tour Guide, and it grew from 48 pages in 2012 to 112 in the summer of 2017. Then came Harvey. The sober realization that fully, one-half of our audience, one-half of our de- livery stops, and one-half of our advertising revenue was—gone with the wind and the flood—was at first perplexing, then startling, and soon terrifying. But after a few weeks, maybe more than a month, it became motivating. Most of us on the south side of Corpus Christi faired pretty well through Hur- ricane Harvey. Trees and fences were down, and covered patios became uncovered— some were lucky enough to not lose electricity at all, most homes were out for a day or so, and some folks went without power for almost a week. But all-in-all, the city itself suffered mainly minor damage. For our neighbors to the north, it was a much different story. Fifteen miles of difference between Harvey making landfall at the Port Aransas Ship Channel and not at Packery Channel on North Padre Island, was the difference between a storm that was catastrophic for 30,000 people in the Coastal Bend, and one that would have dev- astated the lives of 300,000. If you have not been to Port Aransas or Rockport since Harvey—go. In Port A, 85% of all structures suffered damage bad enough to file insurance claims. More than half suffered major damage that includes roof replacements or repairs. Hundreds of homes and commercial structures are gone forever. And so are many of the people. As an editor whose mission of the past six years has been to guide visitors through the beauty that is the Coastal Bend, and all the fun stuff to do and terrific food to eat, and cool places to visit—this was a hard stop. What was a happy island village bustling with the activities of summer a few days before, was now demolished and suddenly transforming into a police state. And a war zone. I started taking photos of the destruction. Hundreds, maybe a thousand. What was so eerie about the days immediately following the storm, was that so much of the damage was not yet visible. There were plenty of walls and roofs blown off structures that was obvious, but the real damage was happening inside just about every building on Mustang Island—the water—the mold—the salt air. Much of the city was rotting from the inside out, and the true scale of the destruction was most visible in the form of the four-story pile of debris—once known as the lives of Port Aransans—that emerged over that first month, positioned prominently as you entered town from Corpus Christi. Ours is a truly small business. It feeds one family reasonably well if we do all the work but run the press. Some of the advertisers who fund this business are smaller than us, and most are much larger—thankfully. Our success is dependent upon theirs. It was shocking when one of those very successful business owners looked and sounded completely defeated a month after the storm. I received calls from two Port A advertisers reminding me not to run their ads as their businesses were destroyed— the sadness I felt for them was overwhelming. One sounded frantic, and panicked that his money was almost gone, and that their family dog was living in a kennel in town. My new business partner, who had been an advertiser in Port A, lost his shop, and his young family all but lost their home. While the storm was causing a financial inconvenience to me and my family, our friends and neighbors to the north suf- fered—and are suffering—much more. I hope that my fellow Corpus Christians are as grateful as I am that Hurricane Harvey did not turn our lives inside out in the way that it did to so many just twenty miles from us. But the next storm could. And our city is in no way prepared. As for The Coastal Bend Magazine—this is the relaunch of what used to be the Texas Coastal Bend Tour Guide. With Harvey we lost a home for almost half of our printed copies, so you will now see the magazine in many of the places where we live our daily lives in Corpus Christi, Portland and on the islands. You will still see us in all of the places frequented by visitors to the Coastal Bend—all of the hotels, condominiums, attractions and restaurants where we have always been. And as Port A and Mustang Island come back, we will grow our circulation to meet the recovering demand. What is different—and expanded—is our mission as a magazine. Harvey changed our lives and our business forever, and it will for the Coastal Bend as well. The first big story that we tell is about the storm itself—Bad Moon Rising. The sec- ond is about the life of Tony Amos, the famed Port Aransas oceanographer who saved thousands of sea animals over his forty years on the island. Together this is A Season of Loss, and while it may be counterintuitive to relaunch a community magazine in such a somber way—this is our life. This is reality. It is not a show. We are human beings and we are Texans. The inspiration is what so many of us are living through, and surviving, and how we’re fighting like hell to emerge stronger than where we were on August 24th. Today there is pain and struggle, but the rebuild- ing is well under way. 2018 will be a year of transition in South Texas, the likes of which we have never seen. An economy that was already growing, is now struggling to keep up with demand, and investors from around the world have their eye on us. Many property and business owners have bowed out following Harvey and are not coming back. Others are moving in. Structures that could not survive a direct hit by a Cat 4 storm are washed away—and the ones that could are still here. New con- struction, much like Florida in the 1990’s following Hurricane Andrew, will be stron- ger, safer, and will survive the next storm. And there will be a next one. Eventually. What you can expect in The Coastal Bend Magazine is a great guide to what’s- what, and where’s-where—what we have always done—but now much more. You can expect an interesting, honest look at what is important, what is fascinating and surprising, what is inspirational, and what is of the fabric of our lives in the Coastal Bend—and what to expect in the years ahead. You should not expect vanity stories because we do not view our personal lives as an editorial subject. You should not expect pages and pages of “stories” about fine business owners who have clearly paid us to write about them. Our philosophy is that the clearing of a check does not automatically qualify someone as an editorial subject, but instead, that any small business can afford our regular advertising rates. Above all, you can expect value from The Coastal Bend Magazine. Perhaps not a giant challenge for a free publication, but our mission is to serve you as an intel- ligent reader with content worthy of your time. Then please go have lunch, buy a car or a jar of jalapeno jelly, or just say, “Hi” to one of our loyal and beloved advertisers, because they make your Coastal Bend magazine possible. I hope you share our enthusiasm and optimism for the next chapter in the history of the Coastal Bend, and I hope you are inspired—as we are—by those around us who are surviving so much. —The Editor Port A residents came together with the help of Austin’s DGreenFilmz to create an emotional video to bring awareness to their plight. #RebuildPortAransasTexas