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Hurricane Alex inspires a hurricane party

June 30, 2010 at 1:30 a.m.

The sign of Hurricane Junction lights up against a backdrop of dark clouds in Port O'Connor on Wednesday.

As rain from Hurricane Alex rattled the roof of Hurricane Junction Wednesday, Andy Lack sat inside sipping on what he called "boat drinks."

He had been enjoying the vodka, cranberry, grapefruit and pineapple drink for about two hours, his buzz strengthening with the winds.

"The purpose of this festivity today is to celebrate the beautiful awesomeness of a hurricane without being in harm's way," he said.

The Port O'Connor native said he came to Hurricane Junction because it's the most elevated bar in the town of about 1,000.

Kicking up his leg to bar-stool height, Lack added, "But I'm wearing my fishing boots just in case."

"And I'm drinking Redbull and vodka," his friend, Dale Bunting chimed. "Just in case I need the energy to swim home."

Hurricane Junction had enough energy and laughs, especially for a Wednesday night. By 7 p.m., they were serving about 30 hurricane partiers, with more sure to come by closing time.

The owner of the bar, Jim Hooper, was giving away fish tacos to the patrons who came by for the hurricane party. He was also grilling up bacon-wrapped quail for the occasion.

When asked why he thought hurricane weather prompted people to come to his bar, the sprightly owner, who introduces himself as Hoop, joked, "The truth? It's an excuse."

Tammy Davis, whose hurricane drink of choice was wine, didn't argue with that claim.

"There wasn't any threat to us, so we're just enjoying the rain. You could sit at home or come here, and here's more fun," the off-duty Hurricane Junction bartender said.

Hooper has owned Hurricane Junction for two years, renovating it from what he said was a "very rough place" before he took over.

The bar has been around since the 1960s, though, when it was nearly destroyed by a hurricane before construction was even completed. The bar also burned to the ground in the 1980s, said Hooper.

Since that time, Hurricane Junction has endured its fair share of hurricanes, most notably Ike.

"We were the only business open in town during Ike. We had six parties for it, almost every day of the week," Hooper said.

With ceiling beams still charred from the 1980s fire, and photos of the building's reconstruction lining the walls, many patrons said it's the history of Hurricane Junction that draws them in.

"Port O'Connor would not be Port O'Connor without Hurricane Junction," patron Jim Reed said, just in earshot of Hooper.

Appreciating the good PR, Hooper pulled out a money clip. "Here's a dollar," he joked.

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