The Southeast Texas Record is back!

Marilyn Tennissen Sep. 16, 2008, 9:12am

The front doors of the San Jacinto building, where the Record office is located, suffered some damage and several offices lost windows.

The staff of the Southeast Texas Record is happy to report that as of noon, Tuesday, Sept. 16, the newspaper has electric power and Internet capabilities as the area begins recovery from Hurricane Ike.

All Record employees are safe and secure, but Galveston correspondent John Suayan has lost his home.

Beaumont and most parts of Jefferson County appear to have been spared the worst of the hurricane's impact, which made landfall on Galveston Island in the early morning hours of Saturday, Sept. 13. Still, thousands of residences and businesses sustained damage and many homes in the area are unlivable.

Orange County, however, suffered from extensive flooding due to storm surge along lakes and bayous, including downtown Orange and Bridge City. Emergency officials conducted hundreds of rescues in Bridge City, with residents trapped in attics and rooftops.

Entergy reports that more than 300,000 (99 percent) of its customers from the Lake Charles, La., area west to Conroe, Texas, were without electric power immediately following the storm. Portions of Beaumont, including the downtown area and the residential areas in the West End, are beginning to see power restored.

Water service in the area is operational, however it is undrinkable due to salt water intrusion.

The Jefferson County Courthouse is still closed, but deputies there told the Record that damage to the courthouse was minimal. Some national media had reported that the historic section of the courthouse – the 14 story building built in the 1930s – had lost a substantial portion of its roof. Deputies said that was not the case, that the building received minor damage from a few broken windows.

There is no word on when the courthouse and county offices will be operational, however the Jefferson County Commissioners Court held its regular meeting on Monday to evaluate the situation.

The federal courthouse in Beaumont stood up well during the 10 hours of hurricane-force winds that pummeled the area. U.S. Marshals told the Record the building was not damaged.

The San Jacinto building, where the Record office is located, also sustained minimal damage. Some of the glass doors at the entrance were shattered, and a few offices lost windows. The Record office had no damage.

The condition of the Orange County Courthouse is unclear at this time, but the Record will provide an update when more information is available.

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