Sunday, September 9, 2012

Seafaring Sunday: Storm of the Century

September 8, 1900:The worst recorded weather disaster to date in U.S. history hit Galveston, Texas in the form of a hurricane. The storm surge measured 20 feet, winds raged at 120 miles per hour and 6,000 people were drown.

A storm with equal or perhaps even more power hit the same area - then known as Galvez Town - on or about September 12, 1818. Then the base of Triple P's favorite racketeer, Jean Laffite, Galvez Town was virtually wiped off the map. William C. Davis describes the situation this way in his book The Pirates Laffite:

On Galveston, the hurricane struck with little warning... In all only six houses survived, one of them Laffite's on the higher ground, and scores of panicked people fled to it. The waves continued to climb, destroying six of the vessels at anchor and virtually all of [the nearby colony of] French settlers' provisions. Before the waters started to recede the whole island was inundated except for perhaps an acre on which Laffite's house sat. Laffite either weathered the storm there or in his brig implanted in the sand.

Ever ready to cement his position of power, and perhaps turn a profit besides, Davis begins his next paragraph by frankly stating The Gentleman Laffite's next move:

When the hurricane passed Jean Laffite's control of food and defense made him the only power on the island.

Header: Ships on a Stormy Sea by Willem van de Velde the Younger c 1672 via Terminartors


Timmy! said...

Well, you can't really expect anything else from Laffite "the pirate", can you, Pauline?

Not a good time of year to be in Galveston, I guess...

Pauline said...

Exactly. You could always count on Laffite to do his best to get the upper hand. And you can always count on hurricane season. The former is fortunate, the latter very "un".

Charles L. Wallace said...

"Location, location, location." Might as well profit from the situation (another way of looking at it: without Laffite providing foodstuffs, the hurricane survivors would have had a tough row to hoe, so to speak...).

Pauline said...

Well put, Wally. And if he hadn't done it, someone else would have.

Charles L. Wallace said...

Thank you, ma'am. Surely, someone WOULD have profiteered ;-)