PHOTOS: Looking Back On 2020 In Houston, Texas And Beyond

The country went through a lot in 2020. Houston Public Media photographer and reporter Lucio Vasquez was there to capture it here in Houston.

A protester stands outside Houston City Hall on Saturday, May 30, 2020, on the second night of demonstrations in response to the death of George Floyd.

Here, we look back at 2020 through images captured by Houston Public Media photographer and reporter Lucio Vasquez.

In 2020, Houston and the world were rocked by a pandemic, rising civil unrest and an unprecedented presidential election.

But early in the year, in late February, the big news was a 96-inch water main that broke near Galena Park, causing major flooding on the southbound lanes near the Ship Channel Bridge.

Water was out or otherwise low across the city, causing schools to close and the city to issue a boil water notice.

A truck sits in floodwater due to a burst water main near the East Loop Thursday.
Cars are stuck in floodwater on the East Loop Thursday.
Two vehicles were stuck in flooding Thursday. A 96-inch water main burst near the East Loop, causing flooding throughout the area.

Then, just a few days after the water main incident, Super Tuesday arrived on March 3.

High turnout, fewer polling places, and technology hiccups resulted in extreme wait times and long lines.

In the end, Joe Biden won the state, and later, the Democratic nomination for president.

Votters waited on long lines at Texas Southern University on Super Tuesday, in part due to unplugged voting machines.
Voters were stuck in line more than an hour after polls closed at University of Houston College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, with some saying they had been waiting for as long as two-and-a-half hours.
Some voters waited hours in stifling heat inside the Kashmere Multi-Service Center in Kashmere Gardens.

MORE | At A Historically Black University In Houston, An Emotional Night For Super Tuesday Voters

Then the world changed. A day after Super Tuesday, on March 4, Fort Bend County announced the first COVID-19 case in Texas. A week later, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Testing for COVID-19 is being conducted at Legacy Community Health clinics across Houston.
Testing for COVID-19 is being conducted at Legacy Clinics across Houston.
Coronavirus screening taking place at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center.
A person in the mask screens visitors to the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

On March 19, health officials reported the first coronavirus death in Harris County. Testing efforts began as the pandemic began to ravage Harris County.

Businesses and restaurants shut down — at least for a time — amid new restrictions. Countless large-scale events were canceled. Among those events was the Houston Rodeo.

A sign on the door at the Midtown bar Axelrad, announcing its closure. Bars and Night Clubs are shutdown in an effort to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.
Outside the Houston Rodeo on March 12, 2020. Due to concerns surrounding COVID-19, the annual event was canceled this year.
A hand-washing station at the Houston Rodeo. The rodeo was just one of the large Houston-area events cancelled over coronavirus concerns, and Harris County officials are recommending avoiding large events altogether.
A person wears a mask at the Houston Rodeo. on March 9, 2020.

On May 25, George Floyd was killed by Minnesota police after an officer planted his knee on Floyd's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

The incident sparked national protests, with thousands participating in Houston for what was one of the largest protests in the city's history.

Protesters outside Houston City Hall on Friday. Hundreds of people marched in downtown Houston in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
Protesters in downtown Houston on June 2, 2020.
Protesters standoff with police in downtown Houston on Friday, May 29, 2020. People across the country protested the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
People marched from Emancipation Park on May 30, 2020 to protest the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Demonstraters left two stuffed animals with letters to the family of George Floyd after a rally at Houston City Hall, on May 29, 2020.

In early June, George Floyd's body was brought to Houston, where he was from, to be laid to rest.

Thousands came to The Fountain of Praise church to pay their respects to Floyd.

After a public viewing and private funeral, Floyd was buried next to his mother in Pearland.

Mourners attend George Floyd's memorial in Houston, on Monday, June 8, 2020.
George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, breaks down in tears at a press conference outside a memorial for sibling in Houston on June 8, 2020.
Mourners attend George Floyd’s memorial in Houston, on Monday, June 8, 2020.

In late August, Hurricane Laura made landfall in the Texas-Louisiana coast.

After it's last-minute turn east, Greater Houston and most of Southeast Texas were spared. Orange, Texas, located at the Texas-Louisiana border, was hit hardest by the storm compared to the rest of the state.

PHOTOS: Some Damage, But Mostly Relief As Hurricane Laura Passes Through Texas

In one part of Orange, Texas, cars were submerged in waist-deep water after Hurricane Laura brought storm surge into the area on Aug. 27, 2020.
Evacuees outside the Robert A. "Bob" Bowers Civic Center in Port Arthur, where buses prepared to transport evacuees ahead of Hurricane Laura's landfall on Aug. 26, 2020.
A large tree on someone’s property in Orange, Texas collapsed and pulled down nearby power lines during Hurricane Laura on Aug. 27, 2020.
Hurricane Laura blew the roof of a building in Orange, Texas on Aug. 27, 2020.
A traffic light was knocked from its perch by Hurricane Laura on Aug. 27, 2020 in Orange, Texas.

Harris County saw record voter turnout for the 2020 general election, which saw Joe Biden defeat President Donald Trump.

Due to the pandemic, the number of people utilizing mail-in-voting increased substantially, along with a number of unsubstantiated election fraud accusations.

In the weeks that followed, several lawsuits were filed by the Trump administration in an attempt to throw out alleged fraudulent votes. Though unsuccessful, some Republicans — including U.S. Sen Ted Cruz — have vowed to object to certifying the results. The move will likely have no result on the election's outcome.

A man on horseback escorts Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins to the polls on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020.
Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, left, with Mayor Sylvester Turner in Acres Homes on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020.
Griscelda Razo, 33, serves food to voters waiting to cast their ballot at BakerRipley's Ripley Center in Houston's Est End, on Nov. 3, 2020.
A mariachi musician serenades voters in line to cast their ballots at the Ripley House polling place in Houston's East End on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020.

Finally, as the year came to a close, Houston Public Media looked back on how COVID-19 impacted the people of Houston. That included several nurses, who reporters spoke with about their experiences throughout the pandemic.

Nurses Deandria Winchester, left, and Dawn Purvis work in the LBJ Hospital COVID-19 unit.
Health care workers at LBJ Hospitals COVID-19 unit. From left are Elsamma Isac, age withheld; Ike Dike, 29; Deandria Winchester, 41; and Devona Bailey, 33.
Health care workers at LBJ Hospital, a safety net hospital in Houston. From left are Janie Espinoza, 35; Shibu Jacob, 43; Dawn Purvis, 52; Carma Jones, 56; Gissele Diaz, 32; and Lakisha Comeaux, 48, all of whom work in the hospital’s COVID-19 unit.

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