Friday, February 13, 2009

Greetings from the Golden Triangle

I took a day trip to Beaumont yesterday to meet with local public health stakeholders and discuss ways of responding to an increase in the number of syphilis cases there.

There's no easy way to get to the "Golden Triangle" from Austin. You can't fly direct and driving straight through often means being delayed by Houston traffic. I split the difference by flying Southwest to Hobby Airport and driving the rest of the way with staff from our regional office in Houston.

On final approach into Hobby, I noticed every fourth or fifth house still had a blue tarp covering roof damage from Hurricane Ike. Beaumont was still recovering from Hurricane Rita when Ike showed up, so blue tarps are pretty ubiquitous there, too. Aside from insurance delays and fly-by-night contractors, I imagine a lot of families in Southeast Texas have more pressing needs than a hole in the roof right now.

The other thing I noticed was the piss-poor condition of IH-10 between Houston and Beaumont. Between road construction and the claustrophobic four-lane Trinity River bridge, it may be the single scariest stretch of highway in the state right now.

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