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Hurricane Harvey mural unveiled in Westchase

August 20, 2018

A 100-foot wide by 20-foot wide mural, painted by artist Larry Crawford, was unveiled in the Westchase District on Aug. 16. The theme of the mural is Harvey’s Heroes, and depicts first responders.

The mural is located at a confluence of two trails, the Brays Bayou and Willcrest Connector Trails.

Multiple first responders who were actively involved with the hurricane were at the event including members of the Houston Police Department, the HPD Dive Team and the Cajun Navy.

“I am very grateful,” Crawford said. “This attention, honestly, I don’t deserve.”

Crawford continued, “It is important for us to do things like this. In the moments of tragedy, when buildings come down, when floods rise and fires tear things down, out of those ashes, people come together. That’s what’s beautiful about what’s bad.”

Crawford is originally from the Houston area and attended the Art Institute in the late ’80s. He has multiple works of art featured in the city, and in Westchase District.

Philip Schneidau, chairman of the board of the Westchase District, said that even though the mural depicted first responders such as the National Guard and the Cajun Navy, all types of first responders are to be honored, noting that the West Houston Assistance Ministries (WHAM) in the Westchase District were a big help in the days after the storm.

Mark Brown, CEO of WHAM, noted that WHAM alone helped almost 16,000 people, by fixing homes and providing clothing and food in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

“It’s almost the anniversary and we’re still helping people. Just a few days ago we got funding to hire a psychologist. We are seeing a lot of trauma still in our community. We’re employing resources to help those that are effected,” Brown said.

City Council District G Council Member Greg Travis was also in attendance, telling the crowd, “The reason why we did so well after Hurricane Harvey is because we took care of each other. We all stepped up. Larry, thank you for doing this. This is incredible.”

Clyde Cain with the Cajun Navy, who was at the unveiling, noted that for him personally, he came to Houston to rescue his friends.

“I grew up in Houston. I lived half my life in Louisiana, half my life in Humble. We got here before the hurricane and rode it out in Pasadena, and then started doing rescues immediately, for about five days,” Cain said.

About the mural, Cain said simply, “It’s humbling.”

Houston Police Department Assistant Chief Wendy Wendy Baimbridge echoed Cain’s statements, saying the mural was humbling and touching.

“It’s not just us, it was also all of our citizens. We suited up, we made sure our own families were out of harm’s way and then we went to work. There’s a lot of talk about diversity and how that makes us better but I would argue that its really what we have in common. That is where you see the true spirit of humanity. That is what Houston showed,” Baimbridge said.

Schneidau noted that the newest mural is a part of a larger goal the district has to beautify everything.

Schneidau said that several years ago, staff members approached the board with the idea to paint the utility boxes.

“We did one, then we did two, and three. And then the staff came to us again, and they asked to do outdoor art everywhere. We’ve done art on park benches, pillars, sides of buildings, everywhere. We are looking for any canvas,” Schneidau said.

rebecca.hazen@chron.com

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