Hurricane Ike has come and gone now.
As a trained speaker and communicator, I would like to issue my following description of the experience in two words:
I'm from a nice little landlocked county over 100 miles from any coastline, so this was my first hurricane rideout, and I've never seen anything like that before. I've never seen anything so frightening, depressing, and mesmerizing at the same time. Good Lord, that was just mind-blowing.
As I write this, there is not even really an initial count of the total lives or property lost. I know that those numbers are about to rise to probably an astronomical and horrifying figure.
The damage to Downtown was crazy.
The damage to the CJC, in the big picture of things, was relatively minimal. Two of the front doors shattered in the early hours of the storm. Of course, that led to resulting water in the front lobby.
At some point, there was a sewage back up, that led to additional water on the ground in the back of building -- really really nasty water.
A leak developed on the 7th floor over the large meeting room for the Defense Bar. That leak promptly dripped down to the 6th floor, near the mail center.
The elevators stopped running at some point, and at last I checked, it sounded like there was a waterfall running down the shafts of the one elevators that go up to the 20th floor.
Throughout all of the Hurricane Ike, a lone maintenance worker was in charge of the CJC. He was a one-man show, and dammit, I wish I knew his name. He ran from place to place with plywood here, or a shop-vac there. He was overworked, and undoubtedly, underpaid. This guy was a true unsung hero.
I've been getting a lot of e-mails about whether or not the CJC will be open on Monday.
Frankly, I really doubt it.
But I'm not Ed Emmett or Ken Magidson (despite what some people who write to me seem to think).
My best guess is that it probably will take at least a week to get the elevators running again (if not longer). Not to mention the fact that there was no water pressure either. I think that it would be cruel and unusual punishment for us not to be able to use the restroom, don't you?
And speaking of cruel and unusual punishment, the vast majority of us haven't been able to take a shower for the past couple of days . . . Well, you get the picture.
I've heard from an unofficial source that there will be no court on Monday, but that doesn't necessarily mean that prosecutors and court staff won't get the call to come on up. If I hear anything official I will obviously post it.
I know that this whole process really sucks, but on the other hand, I know that I'm very lucky, fortunate, and blessed to be able to be sitting here with my family all in one piece.
In the days to come, we are going to be hearing more and more about our fellow attorneys, investigators and support staff who weren't as fortunate. And our CJC family, as always, will do everything that we can to help each other.
(NOTE: I'm still not quite willing to "out myself" on the blog, but enough of you know who I am. If you need anything, call me. I don't have much in the way of money these days, but I can offer help with pretty much anything else!)
And as for you, Hurricane Ike, on behalf of the Men and Women of the CJC, you can kiss our butts.
We're still standing.