HOUSTON — Thousands of Texans are still reeling from this week’s winter storm with limited access to drinking water. In Houston, Jenn Donaldson owns Fauxtastic Floral Creations. Her life centers around creating flower decor and arrangements for weddings and special events. But this week, her work came to an abrupt halt.
“I had a wedding planned for the weekend and so I had fresh flowers coming,” she said. “And that wasn’t able to happen because the trucks weren’t able to come because of the cold weather.”
The late fresh flower delivery was just the start. Soon after, the winter storm hit Houston, and Donaldson’s power and water shut off at the start of the week. This meant no cooking, cleaning, bathroom use or heating for many residents, but for Donaldson, it also meant dying flowers.
“It’s been kind of crazy,” Donaldson said. “We weren’t expecting it. We knew that we were going to have cold weather but we weren’t expecting that.”
Donaldson, her husband, and three children used pool water for the bathroom. They used their fireplace and gas stovetops for warmth. For the one wedding that was still planned during the week, Donaldson switched fresh flowers to faux flowers and let the couple know she was willing to drive through the storm to set up the venue for the couple’s special day.
“Especially with this bride, she’s the most structured bride I’ve ever had, so it was really awesome. She had everything planned out. She had a backup plan to a backup plan and this was never a part of the equation,” Donaldson said. “The venue that they were getting married at was having damage as well because of the water and so we had to cancel it completely.”
That was just one of several weddings at that venue canceled this week. But Donaldson knew others had it worse. As millions across town slept without water and heat, Donaldson looked out for friends and family who may have needed any help.
“We offered our home for them to be able to come but the roads were so bad, they were scared to leave,” she said.
Donaldson said the pandemic had already brought some workflow obstacles, such as the inability to work with shut-down venues and vendors, but now no power and water meant falling behind and delaying phone calls and schedules for weeks to come. Donaldson said, while she knows this is a rough time for many, the moment will pass, like the pandemic, one day.
“Houstonians are incredibly strong. I mean, we’ve been through a lot with hurricanes and so many other things and we’ve gone through and rallied around each other,” Donaldson said. “I think we’re on the end of [the winter storm] hopefully so that will be good and we’ll get that sunshine-y weather and we’ll all be complaining about how hot it is here pretty soon.”
Though the week has been stressful, Donaldson said she’s already planning out future flower arrangements for all the weddings that had to be postponed this week.
President Joe Biden approved a federal emergency declaration for Texas on Friday with plans to sign a major disaster declaration. This will direct new funds to the state of Texas to help with storm damages. Thousands of homeowners are still without water due to burst pipes and other issues from the storm. Some cities and districts, including Houston and the Big Oaks Municipal District Services, have said they’re working on programs to help homeowners offset costs for repair damages, likely only for those with no homeowner insurance.