Mark Seavers Hosts “Pick Up and Party On” After Neighborhood Devastated by Harvey Flooding
For Mark Seavers, the fall season follows a predictable pattern in Memorial’s close-knit Thornwood community nestled on both sides of Eldridge Parkway in the heart of the Energy Corridor. The neighborhood kids transition to their back-to-school routines by day and congregate outdoors in the late-afternoon sunshine. Shadeaux the dog makes his friendly rounds in the neighborhood. Adults look forward to weekend socializing in their yards and putting a few steaks on the grill. Temperatures are hot, humidity is high and the ground is dry.
August 2017 was headed down that predictable path until an approaching storm was predicted to bring 12 to 20 inches of rain. The forecast changed to 30 inches, 40 inches and possibly even 50 inches. For Seavers, weather conditions are always on his radar because rain or lack thereof creates ongoing scheduling changes in his landscape business, Seavers Landscape, but clearly this weather event had the potential to pan out like no other he’d witnessed.
Like most neighborhoods in and around Houston, Thornwood residents hunkered down inside their homes with one cautious eye on television reports and another concerned eye on street conditions as Hurricane Harvey began dumping the equivalent of Niagara Falls on August 25. Predictable life in the picturesque Thornwood neighborhood changed in the blink of an eye when the pendulum swung on August 29. One hundred percent of the neighborhood’s 140 homes began filling with Hurricane Harvey’s reservoir floodwaters, quickly displacing 500 adults, children and their pets, including Seavers and Shadeaux.
When Thornwood residents were finally able to return to their neighborhood more than a week later, they mucked and gutted their homes, tossed waterlogged and destroyed possessions on the curbside to further mildew and rot, and families scattered across dozens of zip codes.
“Thornwood residents have been living a personal cliffhanger,” observed Seavers. “For months, the clock has kept ticking, but for everyone in Thornwood, time is standing still. Compounding our angst is the startling reality that it will take several years, not several weeks, to rebuild. And the news has quickly shifted to the most current events, making the struggles of flood victims a fading memory for the general public.”
Widely known for his ability to bring people together and integrate many friend groups, Seavers revamped previous party plans – put on hold because of the hurricane – and invited Thornwood homeowners to shelve their worries in exchange for an evening of fabulous food and world-class entertainment.
Pick up and party on, Thornwood.
Chef Eric Beasley of E. Christopher’s Food Truck welcomed guests with finger food favorites, including his widely popular Texas Pork Belly Lollipops, Venison Chicken-Fried Steak and Antelope Tartare, among other crowd pleasers, served both from his food truck and passed through the crowd.
Houstonian Ben Jackson, an internationally acclaimed sleight-of-hand magician and the star of a close-up monthly magic show at La Colombe d’Or, mesmerized children and adults alike. Neighborhood kids were included in his magic tricks, and the 40-minute presentation proved why Jackson has received many of the most prestigious awards in the magic industry.
Taking the stage to provide musical entertainment were three performers with incredible artistic pedigrees. Los Angeles-based Cindy Jackson, an indie singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, nailed it with the forceful message in “Deep Waters.” The thoughtful and introspective lyrics, coupled with Jackson’s rich alto voice, undergirded the reason for the Thornwood reunion and reflected her talents that have led to an impressive range of music awards. On loan from Billy Idol was Colin Devlin, a singer and songwriter whose music has received a four-star review in Rolling Stone and featured in advertising, HBO drama “Six Feet Under,” the Discovery Channel and the “Batman Forever” soundtrack. Also performing was Paul Trudeau, a keyboardist, singer and songwriter whose success includes songs in films and television, including “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “Charmed,” “Jag” and “Providence.” A highlight of the evening came when the three musicians took the stage together to perform previous collaborations, as well as a sneak peak into their upcoming album.
For one incredibly memorable evening, things were normal for Thornwood homeowners. Tight-knit neighbors were reunited. Stories were exchanged. Laughs were shared. Children played. And Shadeaux made his social rounds. Seavers’ intuition was correct: The time was ripe to pick up and party on with hope.