Speechless!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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There was some small victories. I saved my star certificate, even though it was underwater.  And, the table I finished faired well.

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Losing all the books and the pictures I never got to scanning was the biggest lost.

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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.

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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.20160907_073658

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.

Bluebonnet Swamp

Located off of one of the busiest street in Baton Rouge, you will find Bluebonnet Swamp.  It was a nice morning for a walk.

Or, laying in the sun.

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When visiting the swamp remember to:

  • Stay on the path – their are critters larking in the swamp.
  • Beware of touching plants – it could be poison ivy.
  • Wear insect repellant – because the unofficial bird of Louisiana in the mosquito.

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Cohn Arboretum

The Cohn Arboretum in Baton Rouge, the official name “Laurens Henry Cohn, Sr. Memorial Plant Arboretum” is one of the most beautiful places in Baton Rouge.  In the middle it has a pond and surrounded by walking path and trees.  There is even a grapes being grown.  If they fix up the house with period pieces, this place would be historic.

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The Baton Rouge Zoo

On Easter Sunday in 1970, the Baton Rouge Zoo first opened to the public. A lot of credit is due to Bill Black, a.k.a Buckskin Bill, who was a popular children’s TV host. He would end his program everyday saying “Baton Rouge needs a zoo.” He encourage children to collect pennies and donate them so the Zoo could purchase an elephant. The children would line up outside the studio to donate the pennies they collected. The campaign was so successful, the children collected enough money to buy two elephants. One of the elephants was named Penny.

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There are currently no elephants at the zoo.  When one of the last two died, the other was ship off to another zoo so it would not be lonely.

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The zoo is located in Louisiana, so of course, there are alligators.

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This alligator look big and mean enough to go through the fence if he was hungry.

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The trip to the zoo was worth it, just to get this picture.

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I caught these birds doing… well I will give you a hint.  They are in a nest.

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This little one decided to pose for me while I was standing there.

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It a very pretty area.  A nice area to walk around, or take the train.

 

The Choir vs. Bass Pro

My niece asked me to come listen to her sing for Santa at Bass Pro Shop in Denham Springs.  I recorded the choir singing some of their Christmas songs.  Here they are singing Jingle Bells.

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While I was waiting for Santa to arrive, here are some of the things I found at Bass Pro.

A few snowmen. What is Winter without snowmen.

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A reindeer in his cute boots.

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I’ve learned what Santa does while the elves are making toys. I bet you thought he was sleeping.

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And, I found out how those reindeer are actually keep in line.

Afton Villa Gardens

Afton Villa Gardens, St. Francisville, is in my top three list of beautiful gardens in Louisiana.  The gardens are built on the ruins of the plantation which was destroyed by fire in 1963.

Afton Villa Gardens

Afton Villa Gardens

Afton Villa Garden Statue

Afton Villa Garden Statue

During the Audubon Pilgrimage, which is held towards the end of March every year, the field of daffodils are in full bloom.

Field of Daffodils

Field of Daffodils

Tulips were in full bloom all around the garden.

Daffodils

Daffodils

Natchitoches – The City of Lights

Today, my travels took me to Natchitoches, Louisiana.  It is called the City of Lights because at Christmas time they light up the city with thousands of lights.  Last year, 2014, they celebrated their 300 birthday.

They have a wonderful park located on the Cane River in their downtown historical district.  I walked by the shops, but many was closed today because of the Labor Day holiday.

Many Bed and Breakfast establishments are located in Natchitoches, but I choose to stay somewhere else.  One day, I will stay at a Bed and Breakfast.  But, it will be longer than just overnight and in either a Plantation or Castle.

Rogue House - Natchitoches

Rogue House – Natchitoches

Cane River

Cane River

Water Fall

Water Fall

Lunch was at Maglieaux on the Cane.  You can check out the review here: Maglieaux’s Review

Rosedown Plantation

Rosedown Plantation is in my top 3 list of the most beautiful plantation gardens in Louisiana. However, the garden’s has the most distinguish history. Daniel and Martha Tumbull build Rosedown in 1834. The gardens were overseen by Martha who keep record of every plant that was planted in the garden and where it was planted. Her journal of the garden is keep in the LSU Archives and a copy is used to maintain the gardens.

Rosedown Plantation

Rosedown Plantation

Rosedown Plantation - Back view

Rosedown Plantation – Back view

Rosedown Plantation - Gardens

Rosedown Plantation – Gardens

Rosedown Plantation - Gardens from Balcony

Rosedown Plantation – Gardens from Balcony

Houmas House

The Houmas House Plantation is in my top three most beautiful plantation gardens to visit in Louisiana.  It is located in Ascension Parish and dates back to the mid 1700’s.  The Cafe Burnside, at the Plantation, is a wonderful lunchtime dining experience.

Houmas House

Houmas House

Houmas House Fountain

Houmas House Fountain

Houmas House Bridge

Houmas House Bridge

Houmas House Fountain

Houmas House Fountain