ROCKPORT, Texas – Back in 2015, we featured Shempy’s in Rockport where we met Bill and Jason. Known for their famous seafood and crab burger, these fun-loving guys from Boston and Louisiana came to Texas during the oil boom in the 80s. In 2006, they opened Shempy’s. Things were going great until Hurricane Harvey hit on Aug. 25.
Shempy’s is back in business on the Coastal Bend, but the night Harvey hit was one they’ll never forget.
They’re restaurant suffered major damage, but Bill and Jason couldn’t get to the restaurant. That’s when a customer from Central Texas stopped by to check on things and took it upon themselves to repair the restaurant’s roof.
“Larry, God bless him. Good man,” Bill and Jason said. “He says, ‘I don’t have to do the work, but I’m going to go down there and tar the roof.’ In about two and a half days they had everything completed. They don’t make people like that there.”
Larry is just one of thousands of volunteers that are helping rebuild Rockport.
“It renews my faith in humanity,” Billy said. “People come out of the woodwork that you’d least expect. Sometimes they say the people you know, they don’t do nothing. Then you’ve got these people you don’t even really know, and here they come. I call them our knight in shining armor.”
Shempy’s reopened shortly after, bringing business back to the area.
“Getting our employees back to work so they can have money and give service to the people around here.” “Yeah. That was important.” “That was very important, yes.”
In Houston, our friend Theresa Fong’s restaurant, Stanton City Bites, was spared, but business around the area weren’t as lucky.
“I see the rain dropping, and I look at the window,” Theresa said. “I’m looking, I’m looking, I’m looking. I’m like oh, it’s getting higher.”
During the storm, as the water rose, Theresa had a horrifying revelation.
“If I packed everything, where should I go?” Theresa asked herself.
Trapped, all she could do is watch.
“This is the freeway?” Theresa remarked. “This is completely covered all the way to the top of what you call the bridge or the cross over. I said, ‘This is not the same place.’ I’m like… I cannot believe it.”
Down the road in Anahuac, our friends at the Crawfish Place weren’t as lucky.
Marisa Kudro has worked here since the Crawfish place opened in 2013, this was the first time in four years the restaurant closed. With hard work and help from neighbors, they opened back up for business just two weeks after the storm.
“I want to say we had two feet six inches in here,” Marisa said. “We had people from Dayton, Liberty, Crosby, Mont Belleview just come in. Weather it was just come in for an hour or come in for a full day of work, people still came in and devoted their time to us.”
Beaumont, Port Arthur, and Orange were also hit hard.
Tristan Barnes with the Beaumont Fire Department helped rescue the stranded in boats.
“They were going over street signs, and when you see stuff like that it really sinks in of the magnitude of this type of an event,” Tristan said.
The things the people of our great state lived through and are recovering from will forever be part of who we are; a scar we’ll wear with pride while striving to get our state back to its strong self.
“We are Texas. Every Texas blooded person from El Passo to Orange, Northern to Southern,” Tristan says. “ We all help each other in a time of need. We open our doors and give the shirts off our back. We’re always going to find a way to push on and rebuild.”