Our Panama City Friends, Lana Jane & Paul

Oct 12, 2018 | 2 comments

Paul Brent Gallery, Yesterday

We worried all day yesterday and the day before.  Hurricane Michael was headed right for Panama City and for Mexico Beach, as well.  Our friends Lana Jane and Paul Brent live in Panama City.  Paul’s Gallery is there.  They have a beach house at Mexico Beach.  OMG!

We knew they were safe, though.  They’ve been out here on the West Coast since early summer.  They have a place in Seaside and we knew they were planning to leave for Panama City sometime next week.  Headed home.  OMG!

Paul Brent Gallery, Before Hurricane Michael

Today Paul posted a picture of his gallery on FaceBook. ” Just found this photo of the Gallery. Pretty much gone,” Paul said.  In another post he said, “We are trying to find someone who can go by our home at 1216 Dewitt in the Cove to take photos. All our neighbors are either gone or without phones. Thanks so much. Paul Brent.”  OMG!

I called.  Paul answered, sounding firm, steady, matter-of-fact, as usual.  They still don’t know about their houses in Panama City or at Mexico Beach.  Their friends Rick and Jane who were here this summer and went on the Music in the Gardens Tour with us this summer lost their Mexico Beach house.  “It was flattened, Paul said.  Only the foundation is left.”  OMG!

“The huge oak trees in our neighbor’s yard blew down and slammed against their house.  All the leaves were stripped off by the wind.  They look like dead trees,” Paul said.  “We had smaller oaks and lots of shrubbery.  We are told that no one has seen our place, yet because it is totally covered in shrubbery.” OMG!

Paul and Lana Jane Brent

“Will you rebuild the gallery?” I asked.  “We don’t know yet.”  The assumption is that all the paintings are ‘gone.’  Watercolors don’t like water, you know,” he said.  “And even if we decide to rebuild, it won’t be done before Christmas, if then.  Thousands of homes in at least five cities. .. There won’t be enough contractors.  And their own homes and businesses are probably gone.”  OMG!

“On the other hand,” he told me, “I’ve just finished some new paintings that I’ll take with me.  It’s a start.  And our son in Cinncinnati is headed down to Panama City to take a look at the house.  No one has been able to get through but he said, ‘I WILL get through, dad!”  And Paul’s voice was full of hope.  OMG!

We talked until my cellphone began to run out of battery.  Even so, there seemed nothing to say.  Nothing to do but offer thanks that they were out of harm’s way.  And to pray that they’ll have the strength to see them through the next steps.  OMG!


  1. Pat Bell Wollner

    Thanks for this piece Sydney. Many of us here in Gearhart and Seaside are thinking of them and hoping for the best. Our thoughts go out to everyone in those 2 communities and everyone else in the path of that hurricane.

  2. DianneWiddop

    Thank you so much for the information. We just had dinner with them two weeks ago. They are a wonderful couple. We’ve been so worried about the hurricane damage to their property. Do you know if they are planning to stay longer in Seaside?
    Having been through several hurricanes on the East Coast, we know what a traumatic experience it is.


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