Houston Resident Returns Home, Worried About What She'll Find

Aug 31, 2017
Originally published on August 31, 2017 12:09 pm
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

I want to tell you about another Houston resident. Her name is Angie Cruz, and she works right here at our hotel north of Houston. Yesterday, we decided to go on a drive with her. And in the car, we were reflecting back to when we first met. It was back on Sunday night. There was this driving rain here. We had just arrived in town. We found our hotel. Angie was working security. She was patrolling the parking lot in a golf cart.

ANGIE CRUZ: It was kind of scary. You know, you saw my golf cart. I didn't have a windshield so I was still out there soaking wet. If I'm not out there, someone could be out there breaking into their cars.

GREENE: Angie's about 5 feet tall. She doesn't look imposing, but I wouldn't mess with her. She rode out the storm at this hotel. She works there overnight, and the owners gave her a room and food. Like so many Houston residents, she hasn't been able yet to go back and check on her house. So yesterday, we made the trip with her.

What do you know about your house right now?

CRUZ: Well, my neighbor said that the water was up level to the entrance of my house. If it actually went in or how high, I don't know. It's a little bitty portable building.

GREENE: And here's the thing that worried us - the other day, we went to Cypress Creek. It's a neighborhood that is totally underwater. Angie's place is less than a mile away from there.

CRUZ: Oh, my gosh.

GREENE: Have you not seen this yet?

CRUZ: No. I've - I've been stuck at the hotel.

GREENE: Now, some of the roads were closed and we had to zigzag a lot, but we were getting close to her place. And then came this section of road under a foot or so of water. There were four partially submerged cars. One was in a ditch.

CRUZ: Oh, my God.

GREENE: Someone's coming through there. How bad is it up there?

CRUZ: We're trying to get to Treaschwig.

GREENE: We're going to Treaschwig.

JOSE MARTINEZ: Well, you can make it to Treaschwig.

GREENE: You can?

MARTINEZ: Yeah. I don't think you're going to have any problem. I just went through there.

GREENE: Yeah, easy for him to say. This guy was in a gray Dodge Ram pickup truck with tires as big as me. He said we could go with him. We climbed - and I mean climbed - up into his cab. The guy's name is Jose Martinez (ph). Angie was riding up front with him. Jose told us that he had just gotten sick of watching storm coverage on television and he wanted to help people get around. He says we've been seeing the best of his city.

MARTINEZ: I'm very proud of the people of here. Honestly. You hear all these [expletive] about whites and browns and whatever. Right now, it doesn't matter. I see wherever we need help, everybody's there.

GREENE: Now, Jose got us to within a block of Treaschwig, Angie's street. But it was underwater, and so we thought that was it.

CRUZ: Thank you very much for bringing me.

MARTINEZ: No, ma'am. No, no, no, no.

GREENE: Jose said he would wait out here for us, and we gave it a shot on foot.

CRUZ: I live right there. See that little portable building?

GREENE: Yeah.

CRUZ: That's my little house.

GREENE: That's your house, right there?

With the entrance off her street blocked, the only way in was to jump this fence. Angie asked if we would go. She gave us her key. She said one thing she wanted us to definitely check was her clothing to make sure it was salvageable.

Yeah. We'll take some pictures.

We used her key to get inside.

It's totally dry in here.

There was no water on the linoleum floor in the kitchen, and her clothes hanging in the closet were just fine.

Angie, your house is OK.

CRUZ: It's dry?

GREENE: The water came up within, like, a foot of your house but it didn't...

CRUZ: Wow.

GREENE: Jose was waiting to take us back to our car. While we were driving, I gave my phone to Angie so she could look through the pictures.

CRUZ: I know my house is kind of junky, but - wow. It's dry.

GREENE: We know so many people here in Houston are going to be making some version of this trip. It was nice to see someone get some good news.

CRUZ: I look at the television, and people have lost their complete house and clothes and cars. So I'm blessed.

GREENE: That was Angie Cruz, here in Houston. And, Rachel, there has been such randomness to the destruction here in the city.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Yeah, sounds like Angie was really lucky.

GREENE: Yeah, totally. I mean, the house just next door to hers was flooded. The guy living there said the water ruined his computers, business papers. He lost a lot. Those floodwaters missed Angie's house, I am serious, by just a matter of inches. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.