Skip to main content

Weathering the Storm

This week, Houston received near-record levels of rainfall (over 13 inches on Monday), resulting in floods that destroyed millions of dollars of property and even took the lives of several residents. Heavy rain is not unusual for Houston, but this type of flooding is far from ordinary. By some accounts, this week’s storms are the most damaging since the city weathered Tropical Storm Allison in June 2001. Though the recent storms did not negatively impact the Law Center and the University of Houston main campus, this was not the case in 2001.

Tropical Storm Allison dropped nearly 37 inches of rain within a 24 hour period, leaving behind five billion dollars in damage. On June 8, 2001 the O’Quinn Law Library’s underground floors were flooded when the campus’s underground tunnels, which connect utilities throughout U of H, overflowed and filled the library with eight to twelve feet of water. Over 170,000 print volumes were destroyed, and some irreplaceable materials were lost forever. The materials lost to the water included the library’s famed admiralty collection and the Judge R. Brown papers. Damages were estimated at $30 million, though some of the materials lost were truly priceless.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved $21.4 million for the restoration of the collection. The funds separated into two projects, one for microfiche replacement, and the other for monograph replacement. Replacing a collection under the strictures of FEMA-awarded funds was no simple task, and took years to complete. The replacement effort continued until 2007, when the library completed its restoration, rebuilding, and remodeling. Library books and materials have never again been stored in the building’s lower lever; the space now accommodates student organizations. Visitors to the O’Quinn Law Library today can see photos of the storm’s aftermath, an unbelievable high-water mark, but most importantly- a world class law library.


We are thankful that in the wake of this week’s storms our campus, library, and community members were largely unharmed. We send our condolences and sympathies to those whose lives and property have been affected by the storms, and wish them strength as they begin on the road to rebuilding. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Law School Exams: A Guide to Better Grades

It’s that time of year again. Law students across the country are poring over their class notes and supplements, putting the finishing touches on their outlines, and fueling their all-night study sessions with a combination of high-carb snacks and Java Monsters. This can mean only one thing: exam time is approaching.

If you’re looking for a brief but effective guide to improving your exam performance, the O’Quinn Law Library has the book for you. Alex Schimel’s Law School Exams: A Guide to Better Grades, now in its second edition, provides a clear and concise strategy for mastering the issue-spotting exams that determine the majority of your grade in most law school classes. Schimel finished second in his class at the University Of Miami School Of Law, where he taught a wildly popular exam workshop in his 2L and 3L years, and later returned to become Associate Director of the Academic Achievement Program. The first edition of his book was written shortly after he finished law school, …

Citing to Vernon's Texas Codes Annotated: Finding Accurate Publication Dates (without touching a book)

When citing to a current statute, both the Bluebook (rule 12.3.2) and Greenbook (rule 10.1.1) require a  practitioner to provide the publication date of the bound volume in which the cited code section appears. For example, let's cite to the codified statute section that prohibits Texans from hunting or selling bats, living or dead. Note, however, you may remove or hunt a bat that is inside or on a building occupied by people. The statute is silent as to Batman, who for his own safety, best stay in Gotham City.
This section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife code is 63.101. "Protection of Bats." After checking the pocket part and finding no updates in the supplement, my citation will be:
Tex. Parks & Wild. Code Ann. § 63.101 (West ___ ). When I look at the statute in my bound volume of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, I can clearly see that the volume's publication date is 2002. But, when I find the same citation on Westlaw or LexisNexis, all I can see is that the …