In a weird turn of events, last week the New York Times ran an article about my home town, Orange, Texas. As I’ve mentioned before, the town sustained a lot of damage from Hurricane Rita last October. Times writer Dan Barry was dispatched to write a feature about the losses the town has suffered, both from the storm and more recently when a man from the town was killed serving in Iraq.
The article mentions how different the town looks since the storm. The hurricane knocked down many of the trees, and the town just looks like a different place. Interestingly, the matriarch of the town’s obligatory rich family died a few years ago, and it turned out that she owned what seemed like all of the undeveloped land surrounding the city. Not long after her death, the land was all sold off, and nearly all of that land was deforested. The changes as you drove into town were shocking. I’m sad to say that the change after Hurricane Rita was even bigger.
Mentioned in the New York Times article is First Presbyterian Church, which I attended until I moved away and which the rest of my family attends. The church structure is probably the most impressive building in town, home to the only opalescent glass dome in the United States. The dome was damaged by Hurricane Rita, and estimates are that it will cost $2.5 million to repair. (There are some pictures of the stained glass online.) I was glad to read today that a stained glass aficionado who read the article has contacted the church about a donation.
Anyway, it’s pretty amazing to read a feature about your own home town and the church where you spend hundreds of Sunday mornings in the New York Times. Everyone in the town that I spoke too was awed by the article, and it looks like it’s brought some tangible good for the town as well.