Residents endure a night without power in Dallas’ Oak Lawn area

Ebun Oyo was sitting in her car on Tuesday morning charging their phones and keeping their pet fish warm.

As the unnamed blue betta, the fish died when the temperature in Oyo’s apartment dropped overnight due to an ongoing power outage.

Oyo is a resident of the Oak Lawn neighborhood, which froze on Tuesday.

The shops and restaurants on “The Strip” on Cedar Springs Avenue were darkened with no electricity. Store mannequins in a shop modeled – ironically – the latest spring shorts and button-down shirts with matching face masks while ice covered the sidewalk. Not even the street lights fluttered.

For more than a day in the apartment complexes lining the avenue, there were people without electricity or heat, clinging to ceilings, afraid of opening the blinds to let in the little warmth they had left.

This section of Oak Lawn is one of an unknown number of northern Texas neighborhoods that have been without power since 1 a.m. Monday. The normally lively area is home to brand new apartment-luxury apartment complexes, trendy restaurants and is the epicenter of the LGBT community in Dallas.

The fact that it has been crippled for more than a day without electricity after the historic storm shows how bad the disaster is in North Texas.

To keep warm, Oyo wore several layers. She tried to get out last night. But there was no place to go, she said. All hotels were fully booked – if they had electricity. As she sat in her car, she considered going to a nearby corner shop for something warm to eat. So far, she has only survived with cookies.

You’re running out of gas too – only a quarter of the tank left. But she has never driven in the snow. Is it worth it?

She held up her fish. There are long blue fins that beckoned her.

“He’s better now,” she smiled.

In Oyo’s apartment complex, the hallways were pitch black. Garbage bags collected by a concierge service in normal weather have been replenished. The pool, where dozens of residents laze in on summer days, was now a frozen pond.

Jacky Chan eats a can of beans that he warmed up on the gas grill of his apartment complex in an outdoor courtyard in Dallas on Tuesday, February 16, 2021. Chan said he didn’t think the historic snowstorm that left millions without electricity would be this bad. (Nic Garcia / Donald Williams shoveled snow outside his Dallas apartment on Tuesday, February 16, 2021. Williams moved to Dallas after surviving Hurricane Katrina.)

In the courtyard, another resident who was recently warmed up sourced groceries from Walmart on an icicle-covered gas grill. For breakfast: an egg and sausage sandwich, a bag of french fries and a can of pork beans.

“I thought it was going to be normal snow,” said Jacky Chan. “I didn’t think it would be that bad.”

At that moment, neighbor Cynde Betton returned to her apartment after living with a friend, Jasmine Bell, who had electricity in the nearby Uptown neighborhood. Betton fled the complex after management sent a message telling residents to do so.

As Benton bagged frozen food, Bell rolled her eyes and remembered the criticism she had heard from her friends up north.

“We didn’t prepare for this,” she said.

“It’s crazy just trying to stay warm,” said Betton. “Hopefully this will pass quickly.”

Betton glanced at the thermostat to see how cold it is in her abandoned apartment. It wasn’t even on.

“I’ll have her for dinner,” said Betton.

“Your company is repayment enough,” jokes Bell.

There are government-subsidized apartments across the street from the luxury apartment complex. It was also without electricity.

Donald Williams shoveled snow in front of his apartment in Dallas on Tuesday, February 16, 2021.  Williams moved to Dallas after surviving Hurricane Katrina.  Donald Williams shoveled snow in front of his apartment in Dallas on Tuesday, February 16, 2021. Williams moved to Dallas after surviving Hurricane Katrina. (Nic Garcia / Donald Williams shoveled snow outside his Dallas apartment on Tuesday, February 16, 2021. Williams moved to Dallas after surviving Hurricane Katrina.)

Donald Williams has lived there since leaving New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. He shoveled snow and broke ice with a shovel.

“Everything hits us,” he said, thinking of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “But thank goodness we’re still here.”

Although there is no electricity, residents had gas stoves and used them to heat their homes and cook food before it spoils in unpowered refrigerators.

Kyiasia Wise boiled water and tossed it on her hunch to break the ice – a sisyphic effort but something to pass the time while she waited for her boyfriend to return. “

The cold didn’t bother the New Yorker too much. But she was frustrated with the lack of power.

“That’s not okay,” she said.

Other people have power, why not them.

Shay Cooks ate her first hot meal in her car in 24 hours. Her fingers were covered in barbecue sauce.

“It’s like we’re being tortured,” she said. Other family members have power, but she was worried about driving her car to Oak Cliff. Wouldn’t make it, she thought. But when she learned that it could take days for power to be restored, she reconsidered.

“We have to go somewhere. I’ll make a couple of calls, ”she said. “You should give everyone a gift car when that’s all done. Especially people on a budget. “

Gloria Marchan, another neighbor, was in her car. It wouldn’t start, but there was just enough life to give your phone a bit of life. She read a text message from Oncor, the company that delivers electricity to people’s homes and businesses.

A tiny flower pokes out of the snow as a winter storm in Dallas brings freezing temperatures to northern Texas on Monday.

Marchan looked for answers and at 1:06 am wrote an SMS with the title “Status”

“We check damage in your area. We will provide an update as soon as your power supply is restored, ”replied Oncor at 1:12 am

Marchan is grateful that her daughter is safe and warm at her great-grandmother’s home in Duncanville. In retrospect, she should have stayed there too. But she was supposed to start a new job on Tuesday. That didn’t happen.

“It’s ridiculous,” she said. “Everyone else turned their power supply on and off.”

She looked across the street and wondered if the flashy apartments had electricity. You don’t, she was told.

She sighed – and hoped her sister would pick her up and take her to a warm place.

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