My 3600 miles adventure over 22 days ended abruptly when my home town of Baton Rouge, Louisiana flooded. Today, is the first day in 6 weeks that I have had some free time to do something I wanted to do. Not, something that needed to be done.
I was in Marshall, Texas helping my niece and sister-in-law out with their Back to School Bash. It was a gorgeous day in Marshall; clear skies and hot.
About 10 a.m. that morning, August 12, I got word that my parents house had water in it. My mother was working on getting the water up, before it caused to much damage. The water was from flash flooding that was occurring all over the area. Later, I heard the water was being pushed into their house by boat wakes as they were rescuing residents from the back of the subdivision. A few hours later the water went down. My mother, father, and niece worked until 11 p.m. that day drying out the floors.
A was suppose to go back to Baton Rouge the next day and spend the weekend, then go to the beach. But, talking with family and looking at the weather reports, I concluded it was too dangerous to travel to south Louisiana. Thirty inches of rain in 24 hours was devastating South Louisiana. All the cities along I-10 between I-49 (Lafayette) and Slidell were flooding. I really did not have to be back in Baton Rouge for 9 days. I could not help anyone while the roads were flooded. So, I headed back to Nebraska.
On my drive back to Nebraska, I got word that my sister’s house was flooding. And, then I learned that my brother, his wife, and their 4 kids walked out of their subdivision through flooded streets. Lastly, I heard that my parents had to abandon their homes because all the rain that occurred north of them was headed south and overflowing all the ponds, creeks, and rivers. When my family left their houses, they only brought a change of clothes with them. They truly believed that they would only have a few inches of water in their houses. They were wrong.
A lot of people have said; “It’s Louisiana, doesn’t it rain and flood like this in Louisiana.” The answer is “NO!” Saying it floods all the time in Louisiana, and we should be use to it. Is like saying Nebraska has tornados all the time and they should be use to it. I’ve heard this morning parts of the Midwest was dealing with flooding because it had received over 10″ of rain over 3 days. That amount of rainfall, Louisiana could have handled. Nowhere in Louisiana in the last 100 – 1000 years has 30 inches rain has falling in 24 hours.
To describe how bad it was, people traveling on I-10 between Baton Rouge and Slidell was trapped on the Interstate overpass for 36 hours because of flooding. My cousin was one of those people trapped, and when he got home he found his house was flooded too.
In June, I sold my house in Baton Rouge and stored all my furniture most of my belonging. Four days after the flooding began, I got word that the place where I stored everything was taking on water. I hoped for a few inches like everyone else, but I had this image in my head.
A week after the flooding began, I got an email from the Storage company saying that the units had to be cleaned out in 48 hours. I was still two hours away from Baton Rouge and felt that I could not ask any family member to help, because they were dealing with the own mess. So, I called the movers. I must have sounded pathic, because they agreed to meet me the following day.
Unfortunately, my storage unit had about 30″ of water in it. The furniture was damage beyond what I could repair myself and I had no where to store it. It was abandoned. But, this wasn’t the most heartbreaking part.
There was some small victories. I saved my star certificate, even though it was underwater. And, the table I finished faired well.
Losing all the books and the pictures I never got to scanning was the biggest lost.
At this point I just stopped taking pictures. I could no longer capture the devastation, because I was too busy sorting out my mess and helping my family deal with their mess. Then I realized, I didn’t take one picture of my parent house. This is a picture after it was gutted. I am grateful that God sent some gentlemen from the Convent Church of Shreveport, LA to clean and gut my parents house.
Oh, while I was in Baton Rouge, my 17 year old niece (who was sleeping on a couch in a storage shed) announced that she thought it was for her benefit that she come and live with me in Nebraska. It would be the best solution. Since all of her family members house flooded and her school flooded. We enrolled her in school and this is her first full week.
My parents house had 44″ of water. My brother’s house had water to their mailbox. My sister’s house had 23″ of water.
I must say, that after everything I have witnessed and experience: People in South Louisiana are truly amazing.