Newspapers and magazines were filled with images like this 2 years ago, so you might wonder
how the small Island has recovered since the storm. Very well, according to Miss G's recent observations! While you may still see the occasional "boat in the wrong place", and the venerable Flagship Hotel has not yet been restored, most of the Island looks like nothing
Most of the City of Galveston was protected by the Seawall, built after the devastating Hurricane of 1900 pretty much decimated the city. Prior to that, Galveston was an international trading city, on par with the likes of New Orleans, but the storm of 1900 wreaked so much havoc that much of the industry that sustained it moved inland. There are still vestiges of Galveston's Bell Epoque glory in the center of the city, along the Strand. The Seawall has become the resort destination
for the beach goers of South Texas, and is lined
with motels, hotels, and resorts of all ratings, from the practical Commodore to the ultra-chic San Luis Resort, Spa, and Conference Center.
Many of the cottages and homes along the streets that lead to Seawall Boulevard serve as vacation homes for fortunate Houstonians, and many also serve as vacation rentals. The Krewe's weekend adventure was centered just off the corner of
25th and Seawall, in a lovely 2-story owned by one of Miss Ginger's neighbors. This was where we ate, drank, cooked, drank, watched videos, drank, and sometimes slept. Did I mention that we also did a lot of drinking?
For a working-class city of only about 57,000 permanent residents, Galveston boasts a remarkable number of gay bars and venues, probably due its tourist trade. And like most small working-class cities, drag punctuates the landscape and defines the trade in each one!
After dinner a few of us, including Mee Maw and Miss Ginger's favorite lawnmowing lesbian, decided to make a little pub crawl. Right next to our beach rental was Robert's Lafitte, said to be the oldest gay bar in the state of Texas since the closing of Mary's here in Houston. It's a small place, kind rough looking from the outside, with plenty of patina on the inside. According the drag queen hosting the show, "there's a pool out back, unless you're from the health department. It's closed on Tuesday's for cleaning, so come on Wednesday if your funny about those things!" Locals tell me that it's filled with chlorine on Tuesday, which reacts with the ammonia in the water and creates a huge cloud that lasts most of the day. Miss Ginger chose to stay away entirely!
There's a drag show every night, and the four queens that entertained us Saturday night did a great job! It's a shame we couldn't stay until Monday, the anniversary of Ike, because the bar never closed when Ike came through, and even though the power was out and there was an inch of water on the floor, those girls did their show by flashlight, and every year since have commemorated the date with a "Flashlight Show" that you just know would be a hoot!
If Robert's Lafitte is the oldest and "roughest" bar in Galveston, Stars Beach Club is probably the newest and nicest. The place is filled with fiber optic pinpoints in the ceiling and the bar, with as state of the art light show and a liquid gel dance floors filled with still more LED's. The dance floor was closed the night we arrived, however, because apparently the establishment has just discovered the floor has a 400 pound weight limit, as proven by that evening's entertainment! The gel is contained in rectangular "bays" under the surface of the floor, and this girl's weight had broken on of the dividers, allowing the gel to squish from bay to bay, rendering the surface unstable. Quelle domage! It sit's right across from the seawall and seems to cater to a mixed crowd of vacationers looking for a casual place to get their groove on!
Since we had missed the show at Stars, we decided to head into town to 3rd Coast, where we caught the end of a show hosted by Texas's Twins of Drag, Kara and Tara Dion. Twin brothers by birth, Kara and Tara have been rocking the South Texas drag scene as long as Miss Ginger can remember, and they are just a skinny and pretty as ever! There was quite a crowd, including several recognizable Houstonians, but after a short while, our little group became over-vodkaed, and it was time to make like a baby and head out!
So Miss Ginger has reconsidered Galveston a weekend destination- it's fun, diverse, and just different enough from home to make it worth the trip! Miss G's not much of a beach person, so the fact that the water is brown and the beach is narrow is not a problem for her! Pick a hotel with a nice pool and a proximity to the party and you'll have a gay ole time!