Legacy of Hurricane Ike's effects on Bolivar Peninsula

You likely remember exactly what you were doing on Sept. 13, 2008, the day Hurricane Ike came storming into the Texas Gulf coast. On this day, we are reminded of how the storm was recorded in U.S. history as being among the most destructive, only behind hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Even the history books have trouble telling of a more devastating storm. 

In Galveston, almost twenty people were killed and the destruction was so widespread that some people thought the area would never bounce back. Eight years since Ike? Take a drive around Crystal Beach and it's clear that Ike is long gone but no doubt he will not soon be forgotten. 

"I lost everything," explains Bolivar Peninsula resident Will Armstrong. "I only drove away with my car." 

"We lost both our houses," says fellow resident Chris Gatlin. "We own Tiki Bar and Grill. We had nine foot of water in our business."  

The category two hurricane struck with a catastrophic blow, giving Galveston quite a beating and leaving long stretches of road littered with boats. The storm made electricity a dark and distant memory, annihilating neighborhoods and nearly obliterating the entirety of Bolivar Peninsula.

"It looked like a bomb blew up," adds Gatlin.

"Everything was completely wiped out," says resident Patty Gothia. "It was like a war zone. I really didn't think it would ever come back." 

"We had fast food restaurants that closed and never reopened -- that's unheard of," explains Galveston County Judge Mark Henry. "The economic hit on Bolivar and on the Seawall was significant."

While Ike's best shot certainly left billions of dollars in damage and thousands of people heartbroken and without a place to live, eight years later most of them have moved on and Ike is simply a bad memory for many.

"It took us almost three years to rebuild," adds Gothia. "We had to fight with the insurance company. That was almost worse." 

Judge Henry says a storm surge protection system, which would be like a massive seawall stretching from San Luis Pass to Orange County, is in the works. Although, he admits at this point it is a $10 billion item on a wish list.