Curtis Elder

Curtis Elder is a native Houstonian who was born and raised in Fifth Ward. He has lived in the Scenic Wood neighborhood for much of his life. Elder remembers evacuating before Hurricane Rita and being at work for several days during Hurricane Ike, when he worked for Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee. During Harvey, Elder recalls the days of rain and that flood water came into his garage. He and his family weathered the storm at home, and Elder says that they had plenty of supplies, but that they could not leave their house for days. One difference between Ike and Harvey was that Elder did not have power for more than two weeks after Ike but during Harvey his house never lost power. Elder says that he did not apply for any kind of state or federal aid after the storm because he was not in need. He recalls the large amount of trash and debris in his yard after the flood water receded. Elder talks in depth about the Fifth Ward, focusing on his church, Old Pleasant Grove. The church burned down at one point, and Bill Clinton spoke at the church while campaigning for president. Elder lists famous names who came from the Fifth Ward, including Jennifer Holliday, Barbara Jordan, Mickey Leland. He discusses the bloody reputation of Fifth Ward and the Turkey Day Classic, an annual football game between Fifth Ward’s Wheatley High School and Third Ward’s Yates High School. Lastly, Elder mentions that even though he has not lived in Fifth Ward for some time, he still makes an effort to return to the community often. 

Read on for the full transcript of the interview: