"The Good Lord Remembers
the Needs of a Frenchman"

Smithsonian Magazine, September 1999

"For a While...It Was Fun"

Then the full force of the storm hit. By the time it had played itself out, Galveston, Texas, was a shambles...

"On September 8, l900, a hurricane that had swept across the Gulf of Mexico slammed into Galveston, Texas. Situated on an island that amounted to little more than an unprotected sandbar, the city was devastated. Entire neighborhoods were obliterated. Shipping facilities were demolished. Some 8,000 people died, a toll that exceeds the total loss of life caused by the Chicago fire of 1871, the calamitous forest fire at Peshtigo, Wisconsin, that same year, the Johnstown flood of 1889, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and the Florida hurricane of 1928....

The following message from Linda Macdonald was included in part in the Smithsonian article. Here is her original August 27, 2000 posting to the Gaveston News Forum site:


"My grandfather, Clarence LaCoume, was 6 years old at the time of the Great 1900 Storm. When I was little, he used to tell me stories about the storm.... the morning after the storm.... [m]y grandfather said that he followed his father, Bernard LaCoume, down the stairs inside their second story home to the bakery which his father owned and operated on the street level.

He said everything was covered with slime brought in by the tides that had filled the first floor of the small business the previous night.

The front windows were broken out, but the front door was still closed. He watched as his father opened the door and found a large barrel outside at the doorstep. It had been left by the tides but was as carefully placed as though it had been left by a delivery person.

My grandfather could see all the debris in the street, but he could not believe his eyes. He returned his attention to the barrel that his father was opening. His father, who was born in France, came to Galveston as a teenager in 1875 and was always very proud of his French heritage.

Upon opening the barrel, which was completely unharmed by the storm, they discovered that it was filled with wine.

My grandfather said his father wheeled the barrel into the bakery and then turned to him and said, "See son, don't ever forget that even in times such as these, the Good Lord remembers the needs of a Frenchman..."

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R. Scott Michaud

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