KARNES CITY, TEXAS - "Sitting in the bank manager's office, the man turned to his wife. "Show it to him, Mama," he said as they settled into wooden chairs across from Paul Brysch in the Karnes County National Bank. She nodded, slid an envelope from her purse and handed it to Brysch. A check for more than $300,000 was inside, the first royalty check from an Eagle Ford Shale well drilled on their property on the edge of Karnes County.
"Congratulations! Y'all must be thrilled!" Brysch said. "No, no, you don't understand," the man said, furrowing his brow. "We've never had money like this before. What do we do with it?"
The question has been repeated across the Crossroads since the Eagle Ford Shale play began booming, but nowhere is it more poignant than in Karnes County. These days, the county is a lively place, the epicenter of an oil boom changing the face of South Texas and bringing wealth to people who have struggled and scraped for generations just to keep hold of their land."