Robert Dean is quick to admit he’s not a Texan. He’s calls himself a transplant, and has lived in Austin for the last four years. He came here from New Orleans, after marrying into a family with deep Texas roots. And while he says he doesn’t adore the Lone Star State, nor does he appreciate many of the things in which Texans take great pride, he has an important observation to make about our state after witnessing the way Texans banded together to help each other in the wake of Harvey.
“I can’t name the state fish. I don’t understand the thing about mums at homecoming. I think chicken fried steak sucks. And I don’t care about ‘Friday Night Lights,’” Dean says.
But he does care about Texans’ sense of pride. The way Texans identify with their state, rather than with the town in which they live, is different from the way things work in New Orleans.
“To love New Orleans is to love the city, but a New Orleanian ain’t much of a Louisianan,” he says. “But here, even if you’re from the Gulf, or the panhandle, you still adore this state. You bond together under that flag, that symbol,” he says.
This pride, he contends, comes from a shared sense of purpose: To make Texas great. And it’s this that drove Texans to go to great lengths to help each other during and immediately after Harvey, and that will continue to drive them to ensure Houston and the coastal part of the state achieve a full recovery in the years to come.
“The people here know a love that moves deeper than their sense of pride,” Dean says. “It’s a calling, a purpose. That sense of purpose and absolute unwillingness to bend in their pride is why Texas will only become stronger in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.”
He compares Harvey to other hurricanes that have hit the United States – Sandy, Katrina. And he concludes that only Houston could handle a hurricane like Harvey, a “monster … that we’ve never seen before.”
“Who better to challenge Harvey head-on than Texans? They’ll do it wearing an Astros cap with a twisted smile, daring that water to take a piece of the land they love so much.”
Written by Kate Groetzinger.