What Houston needs is our hope and heavy lifting

If there is one glimmer of hope we can share with our Texas neighbors right now, it is this: the darkness will lift.

We know.

And we will be there for you, just as you were there for us.

In the 1960s, when Moon Landrieu was mayor of New Orleans, citizens enviously looked west and wondered why New Orleans could not have a more sensible property tax base like Houston’s that would properly fund public schools, city services, parks, playgrounds and libraries.

Moon’s answer made a lot of sense: Whenever another suburb popped up in the metropolis, the city of Houston simply would annex it, simultaneously expanding its geography and claiming its tax revenue for the civic treasury.

That vastness of urban sprawl – on a clear day you need to pack a picnic lunch to circumnavigate Houston on its interstate system – is a curse in a natural disaster.  There simply is no place for trillions of gallons of water to go, and that means millions of lives have been turned upside down.

Of all the images I have seen since Harvey came and refused to leave, the one that most hit home for me was of Houston SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck, in two feet of water,  carrying young mom Catherine Pham in his arms, while Catherine clutched her 13-month-old son Alden, his eyes closed in sleep, to her breast.

It is now up to us, with our eyes wide open, our feet dry (OK, for now) and our consciousness raised, to follow in Hudeck’s footsteps and do the heavy lifting.

Footsteps on the water.

Peter Finney Jr. can be reached at pfinney@clarionherald.org.

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