Ike hits home

The Coopers call their home in League City, Texas, paradise.

Even after Hurricane Ike surged more than a foot and a half of water into their house less than one month ago, the Coopers maintain that statement.

Their two-story house sits within 50 yards of Clear Creek – a body of water that feeds directly into Galveston Bay.

Even Hurricane Ike couldn’t take paradise from junior David Cooper’s family.

For his mother Melissa, the location is worth the risk of hurricanes – it’s worth the mud and filthy water buildup that comes along with tropical storms and hurricanes.

“We have this lovely little spot, an acre, on the creek,” Melissa Cooper said. “Even through all of this, I’ve never thought, ‘You know, I want to leave.'”


When the Coopers heard that League City, Texas, was in Hurricane Ike’s path of destruction, they quickly evacuated to Kansas.

“That’s where our kid is,” Melissa Cooper said. “We knew that we were going to have to leave, and we knew we were going to have to be gone for a while; so its like ‘OK, we have to go, so lets go.'”

The worst was still to come for the family, though.

“It was great to see the family. It’s always great when they come up here,” David Cooper said. “But you kind of wish they could have come up in a better situation. They were happy to be up here with me, and I knew they were safe up here.”

Once they returned to Texas, Melissa Cooper and her husband stood in an unrecognizable basement.

The bottom floor of their home was ruined by surge water from the storm. All of their appliances – refrigerator, washer and dryer – were completely ruined. And that was just the start of it. As the family looked around, the list grew longer and longer. DVDs, movies, computer games, furniture, cabinets.

It was all gone.

For Melissa Cooper, the most difficult part is letting go.

It was easy for the mother of three to let go of material items that could be purchased again, but when she found a box of old photos – old memories – the devastation hit her.

“We had several boxes of pictures and papers and projects the kids had made when they were little, and they were sitting downstairs on the floor unfortunately and were missed when we left,” she said. “We did lose some of that, and it’s heartbreaking, but it’s gone…there’s nothing you can do about it.”


The next time David Cooper returns home, the house he grew up in won’t look the same.

For now, he stares at pictures on his computer. He tries to imagine the damage from phone conversations with his parents.

“This is the only home he’s ever known,” Melissa Cooper said. “We sent him pictures, and I know he waited to look at them for some time because he wasn’t ready.”

He’s also not ready to see the home he grew up in transform before his eyes.

“That’s the house I grew up in,” David Cooper said. “Everything will be different. I’m not exactly sure what it’ll be like.”

In order to restore their home to it’s previous structure, the Coopers must rebuild the majority of their downstairs, stripping it of any cabinetry, insulation and appliances.

“My family is pretty smart…and I’m pretty sure they got most of the stuff that really matters to the highest ground possible,” David Cooper said. “It’s just stuff and everything is replacable.”


Junior Jocelyn Keener grew up in Houston. Most of her family still lives there.

When Hurricane Alison brushed through the area 10 years ago, her family boarded up their home, strapped down their outside decorations and prepared to wait out the storm.

“It flooded some of the underground parking complexes in downtown Houston,” Keener said. “They went down there when the water finally receded enough and there was just mud, and stinking mud, and cars that were horribly, horribly damaged, and there were people in the cars. Even after a month, they were still finding bodies.”


Even though her house suffered extensive damage, Melissa Cooper remains thankful.

All five members of her family still are alive following a storm that claimed the lives of more than 100 people.

“It’s home. It’s more than just a house,” she said. “We’ve been inconvenienced but we’ve been blessed through the whole thing too.”

Melissa Cooper said one way her family was blessed is safety.

“We lost probably 20 huge trees, but not one tree hit the house,” she said. “So we could have had more damage than we did. Even in the midst of a disaster you can find blessings and silver linings, and that’s certainly what’s happened to us.”