This is a bit of a “prequel” of sorts. These photos come from my Brother-in-law, Lance Jones, who went in with my dad the Thursday (I think, these dates are getting fuzzy) after the rains that filled Toledo Bend came through. As you look at these photos I want to try to put you into the right mind or mood, and I want you to empathize with the person, my father, as he bore witness to his house taking on more water than it has ever taken in a flood. You are not doing it for my dad, though. You are doing it for the now thousands of people from Burr Ferry, Louisiana to Merryville, Louisiana, and Deweyville, Texas and all the other little towns between. Even I10, a major avenue of commerce, has been shut down because of the flooding. Maybe with this wide array of damage and interruption of day-to-day living and business operations, the Sabine River Authority may have to look into their policies and consider some changes.
Imagine, if you will, that you are sitting in a boat, and you are floating up to your house, and you see all you have worked for slowly being swallowed by water…
And click images to make them larger and more detailed.
It’s been about a week since we had a near record setting amount of rain fall on our region. The rain came from the west and it was predicted a good bit ahead of time. It was predicted that the amount of rain would be great below Toledo Bend (Not a great effect on flooding in my community), over Toledo Bend proper (A threat on my community), and north/west of Toledo Bend, where streams receiving this water would feed the lake, making that part of the storm the largest threat). As The Sabine River Authority stood back and waited until it was too late, we were totally unaware of what was coming. I have shared with you a couple of articles already that explore this event, and this new article is more of the same.
Before I delve into the photoblog that caused a small surge in traffic for Just Chill Here, which my sister so nicely said “I sure hope they don’t click on your other stuff with that potty mouth!” in a very judgmental way, I want to share a set of rumors I have picked up that compliment the answer to a question that we may never know:
Why did the Sabine River Authority wait until the water was upon us to lower the lake?
These rumors are just things I have heard or read, but interesting to ponder regardless:
They have to keep the lake levels high so the bald eagle population has a pristine habitat.
They had to keep the levels high to ensure that several species of rare trees on the lake would stay healthy.
They had to keep the waters high for a big bass tournament that was either going on, or coming up, or one that had just passed. (I am not sure!)
They can’t activate the flood gates unless the lake is a certain height, and it didn’t reach that height until it was too late.
The Sabine River Authority is trying to force people out of their homes and land so they can continue to flood the region as they please.
I can’t substantiate any of these rumors, but I figured I would share with you some of the things I overheard while running into folks in recovery mode.
For all of you getting back into your homes, take plenty of water and try to be safe. It’s hot, it’s muggy, and it’s ideal conditions for bad things to happen.
Let’s get back to our story…
Remember, you can click the images to get the big, prettier versions.
The waters are still high and now Evans, Louisiana is dealing with it’s record flooding. Merryville, Louisiana is getting it as well and towns south of here, such as Deweyville are also going to experience them. The governor is taking flight over the affected area and many people are trying to figure out their next steps. I spoke with some of my uncles, aunts, cousins and friends and they are lost, but they are not stopping. People are helping out at what I believe to be a record rate of participation. In fact, the help has seemingly outpaced the need in some aspects as the hubs of assistance in Evans and Burr Ferry are practically begging for people to come get clothes and food. They need some things like underwear and other necessities, but I visited the Evans Youth Center yesterday and they looked rather flush with supplies. It was a good sight to see.
This article’s title is “A Community In Turmoil?” because the interrogative meaning really lends to the idea – is the community truly in turmoil, or have we come together so tightly, that we have already begun to bounce back?
The hard work is not here yet, but at this rate, we should be able to transition strongly into revival.
As always, click images to get the bigger, more pretty versions.
These last few days have been mired in disappointment and anger as my hometown has experienced the worst flooding it has ever received. Part of this event involved driving a boat up to my parent’s house, the home that my father built himself and completed when I was born. This house is 34 years old and my family and friends have built many memories running around the land my parents essentially transformed from a swamp to a high patch of dry land that was the envy of many people.
Today I saw that die. Today I saw a piece of my dad go. I saw my mother shattered. My sister stayed strong and it was all I could do to console my father as he reassured me that “everything is gone, it’s all gone.” The emotion from seeing this was only strengthened when my mother echoed the very same sentiment. My parents got their clothes and managed to save a few of their vehicles, two boats, and some ATVs. They got a few suits of clothes and my dad’s guns. All of the pictures and sentimental objects were tossed on the bed because that worked in the flood of 1999, where the water was into my childhood home up to around 10-12 inches.
Today we learned that this trick was ineffective. My parents made it out with more than many of those friends and families through Burr Ferry and Evans. Some people were left with the clothes on their back and a bank account. Some of them don’t have a place to stay, so they are getting “discounts” at hotels for the night. This flood has been exponentially more shattering for my hometown than any previous event. Previous floods, hurricanes, tornadoes – everything.
Below is a photo album that I have created to share with Facebook. I chose to use my own web page because I am more comfortable sharing my thoughts with each image, and it gives me a chance to really talk about each photo my way.
The photos you are about to see are more than just photographs. They are a marker of my life. I am approaching middle age and my parents, who are in the dawn of their (forced) retirement, have essentially been dealt a terrible blow. One that has essentially shaken their foundation.
These photos are the evidence of my history coming to a shuddering close. There are no photos anymore. There are no birthday cards my mom saved and no scrapbooks. There are no old baby clothes and baby shoes. There are no wall photos and no more mounted deer heads celebrating my father’s accomplishments as a hunter, nor is there an 11 lbs bass mounted on the wall.
What do we have now?
Click the images for high res versions that look better.