Ever since the city of Houston lost its beloved Oilers (who moved to Nashville and became the Tennessee Titans) but later received another NFL franchise, I have often said, “Why would they pick the nickname ‘Texans’ for the new football team”? I figured it was a dig at the arrogance of Dallas Cowboys’ fans for declaring themselves as “America’s Team”. Maybe Houston was simply settling for being Texas’ football team.
Other nicknames for the Houston football team seemed to be a better fit with the city’s identity. My personal favorite was the Houston Traffic. Nothing strikes more fear into most visitors and residents than seeing the massive amount of traffic (and traffic jams) which you will find at just about any hour of any day on the freeways of Houston. Or, perhaps, the Houston Jalapenos as a tribute to the area’s celebrated Tex-Mex cooking? What about the Houston Humidity? The nation’s fourth largest city certainly can claim its share of Gulf Coast moisture as the steamy summer heat wilts one and all from June through September.
Another potential nickname for the new NFL team kicked around by locals was the Houston Hurricanes. It sounded quite logical since the city receives a tropical system every so often. However, after the past week of Hurricane Harvey, it’s a good thing that the owner selected a different nickname.
Houston and the surrounding area from Corpus Christi and Rockport to the Beaumont/Port Arthur area have dealt with enough wind and water from Hurricane Harvey this week. Incredible rainfall totals from 30 to 50 inches during a three day period produced record flooding in Houston and other parts of southeast Texas as America turned on its televisions to watch.
Disclaimer – I lived in New Orleans for several years and was living in another part of the state during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It was heartbreaking to watch what happened in my home state as a result of that storm. It still brings back many memories, but most people will remember observing how many people simply waited for state and federal government agencies to come and rescue them after it was too late to get out of harm’s way.
In Houston this week, the nation may have been surprised to observe a city which didn’t wait for outside assistance as neighbors immediately helped neighbors to escape the rapidly rising flood waters and to move higher ground. The city’s own took care of their own – regardless of racial demographics and what type of neighborhood you lived in. The water simply inundated all parts of the city and many of the surrounding areas of southeastern Texas.
Louisiana’s volunteer Cajun Navy immediately brought their boats to the rescue and bravely saved more lives – just as they did during last year’s flooding in southeastern Louisiana. And, of course, the National Guard and other branches of the military performed one heroic rescue after another as flood waters rose swiftly. Lives were saved because of the decisive actions taken by all. It was at times both heart-breaking and inspiring to observe.
The region’s immediate and resilient response may have surprised some Americans after watching the Katrina response along the Gulf Coast. Texans? The courage and heroism shown by the area’s citizens was awe-inspiring, but not altogether surprising to those of us who know Texas well. Think of the Alamo in San Antonio. The people of Texas were then (and still are) very proud and independent folks who will stand together during times of crisis to take care of their own.
As the nation observed an incredible response to what may have been America’s costliest natural disaster, the residents of the Houston area have all earned the nickname “Texans”.