Washing Away My Childhood

Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Part 4

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.

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This little guy, or should I say, big guy, was about 15 feet up in a tree and he looked miserable. We wanted to get him down, but if you know anything about wild raccoon, they are a little ornery. By a little ornery, I mean they will try to murder you, starting with your face. My cousin, Harvey, said “Yeah, we could get him, but he would probably be ungrateful.” I hope he makes it. He was asleep. This was taken while we were returning to the boat trailer on what we river rats called the Wing Road.

 

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In front of the Welch’s property where they at one point in time dug a (failed) canal. It was hardly ever full of water and it ended up full of vegetation over the years. Not now. The water was very close to the road. Oh, this is on HWY 8, at Anacoco Lake. The first time I have ever known them to draw down their own flood gates because of the water it was holding.
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Anacoco Lake is unique in our area because it has a nice public boat landing that is merely 50 yards from a major highway. The water covered the boat landing and rose up to the edge of the highway. It has never flooded in such a manner as far as I can recall.
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This is a little RV park by Anacoco Lake. I think only one or two campers made it, but I am not sure. I know there were some boats that were swamped terribly. I know the boat shed there was only about a foot out of the water. Eerily enough, however, when we were driving last night we noticed someone was in a camper that was absolutely surrounded by water and someone was in there, lights on, watching TV.
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A better view of the Anacoco Lake RV Park. I don’t know if it has an official name, but I do know there was some damage to some nice campers.
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In the back you see the boat shed, or boat house or whatever. In the front you see the camper that had someone in it last night. While this place has flooded before, it has never flooded like this.
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This is the Burr Cemetery Road. The water being this high was alarming. It was raining pretty good when I came here. To the right of this image, up that little ditch, is the actually cemetery. Which hey….
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The next I would see Burr Cemetery would be less than 24 hours later from the deck of Harvey Nash’s boat. This is how serious this flood has been.
Some driveway erosion that the inhabitants of Burr Cemetery Road will have to address eventually.
Some driveway erosion that the inhabitants of Burr Cemetery Road will have to address eventually.
A wash out that will have to be fixed on Lynn Nash Road. There have been worse wash outs and most likely will be some after the waters recede. This is also now about 4 feet underwater.
A wash out that will have to be fixed on Lynn Nash Road. There have been worse wash outs and most likely will be some after the waters recede. This is also now about 4 feet underwater.
To the left is the Wing Road and to the right is the continuance of Lynn Nash Road. You go right to go to my parents. in past floods, water would rise to this point,and water would just be under my parent's house. Less than five hours later, water was about 12 inches into my parent's house.
To the left is the Wing Road and to the right is the continuance of Lynn Nash Road. You go right to go to my parents. in past floods, water would rise to this point,and water would just be under my parent’s house. Less than five hours later, water was about 12 inches into my parent’s house.
Toro Creek submerged HWY 392 making it impassible and impossible to get to the Toledo Bend dam via my usual route. There were a lot of people there and I really felt like an asshole for being there. I left, but I did get a quick shot. A guy that looked very unofficial, but had a very assertive demeanor made the comment "What are all these fuckin' people doing here?" That was my cue to leave.
Toro Creek submerged HWY 392 making it impassible and impossible to get to the Toledo Bend dam via my usual route. There were a lot of people there and I really felt like an asshole for being there. I left, but I did get a quick shot. A guy that looked very unofficial, but had a very assertive demeanor made the comment “What are all these fuckin’ people doing here?” That was my cue to leave.
This is the gate to Wood Water Tree Farm. I have never heard of it, or I just never paid attention to it. See the debris in the gate? At some point the water was going over highway 111. I actually don't know if this is a real business or not, but it took a beating.
This is the gate to Wood Water Tree Farm. I have never heard of it, or I just never paid attention to it. See the debris in the gate? At some point the water was going over highway 111. I actually don’t know if this is a real business or not, but it took a beating.
My first of many camera checks. My camera acts funny at times, especially in low lighting situations. Sometimes those camera checks move me. Water should not be in the background here.
My first of many camera checks. My camera acts funny at times, especially in low lighting situations. Sometimes those camera checks move me. Water should not be in the background here.
This is the Texas side of the Burr Ferry river bridge. The water had only been this high once, and that was in 1989. a couple of hours later the bridge was closed and water had begun to pour over the Texas highway. It was at this point that the community started feeling the absolute shock of what was happening. At this time, the water broke record heights, and at this point the water would have been about four feet up the walls of my parent's house. Eventually, it would rise into their attic.
This is the Texas side of the Burr Ferry river bridge. The water had only been this high once, and that was in 1989. a couple of hours later the bridge was closed and water had begun to pour over the Texas highway. It was at this point that the community started feeling the absolute shock of what was happening. At this time, the water broke record heights, and at this point the water would have been about four feet up the walls of my parent’s house. Eventually, it would rise into their attic.
You can see here there is very little space between the bridge and the water. The sheer power of the water amazed me, but the strength of this old bridge has held up to a great many of floods. It's a shame it is being replaced. If this flood does not dismantle the bridge this time around, it will have earned it's retirement. I feel like it symbolizes something, I feel like it belongs on a bumper sticker with some phrase about how strength is not about how much you can hold, but how much you can stand against or something. Get on it people!
You can see here there is very little space between the bridge and the water. The sheer power of the water amazed me, but the strength of this old bridge has held up to a great many of floods. It’s a shame it is being replaced. If this flood does not dismantle the bridge this time around, it will have earned it’s retirement. I feel like it symbolizes something, I feel like it belongs on a bumper sticker with some phrase about how strength is not about how much you can hold, but how much you can stand against or something. Get on it people!
This is the Lynn Davis Road. I was going to check on my cousin, Jake, but I was in a rush and Didn't really have time to go around the back way. I figured he was at work as well.
This is the Lynn Davis Road in Evans, LA. I was going to check on my cousin, Jake, but I was in a rush and Didn’t really have time to go around the back way. I figured he was at work as well.
This is Jarrel Loop, AKA Uncle Carl Road. I was going to go check on them but after maneuvering around really big logs that floated onto the road I rand into this water. That being said, those logs were on dry land, which means there was an alarming amount of water rushing through here the night of the storms. How no one was killed is amazing to me. I noticed, driving about 150 miles yesterday, that there were signs where water was just having its way all over the place. Anyone that was stuck in any of these spots was probably terrified.
This is Jarrel Loop, AKA Uncle Carl Road. I was going to go check on them but after maneuvering around really big logs that floated onto the road I rand into this water. That being said, those logs were on dry land, which means there was an alarming amount of water rushing through here the night of the storms. How no one was killed is amazing to me. I noticed, driving about 150 miles yesterday, that there were signs where water was just having its way all over the place. Anyone that was stuck in any of these spots was probably terrified.
A victim of the storms that night. I don't know the story of the car, but this was the most interesting car of the day. I saw this on my way home via 464...
A victim of the storms that night. I don’t know the story of the car, but this was the most interesting car of the day. I saw this on my way home via 464…
The close up tells me that it's a Chrysler. What you apparently needed that night was a mercury out board on a 16 foot long, 8 foot wide flat bed aluminum boat.
The close up tells me that it’s a Chrysler. What you apparently needed that night was a Mercury out board on a 16 foot long, 8 foot wide flat bed aluminum boat.
What came first? The drowned car or the High Water sign?
What came first? The drowned car or the High Water sign?
I made it almost to the end of HWY 464, but Anacoco Lake had another idea. This is why it was blocked.
I think this may have been an old boat house or barn on Anacoco Lake. It's sad because the water refuses to allow proper identification.
I think this may have been an old boat house or barn on Anacoco Lake. It’s sad because the water refuses to allow proper identification.
This is what became of the Chrysler. It was used by a news company, I think one out of Lake Charles. It was eventually filmed getting towed and no, I do not know these kids that are being filmed. I don't even know if the car is theirs. I do know that the lady filming gave me one "go to hell" look when I pulled up that kept me in my car. The reason why it's hazy is because my windshield. I should have gotten out and went all Paparazzi, but Brandi was waiting on me at this point and I had A LONG way to go.
This is what became of the Chrysler. It was used by a news company, I think one out of Lake Charles. It was eventually filmed getting towed and no, I do not know these kids that are being filmed. I don’t even know if the car is theirs. I do know that the lady filming gave me one “go to hell” look when I pulled up that kept me in my car. The reason why it’s hazy is because my windshield. I should have gotten out and went all Paparazzi, but Brandi was waiting on me at this point and I had A LONG way to go.
On my way back home I shot this moment where water was almost over the road here. I've never seen it this high and I do think it was over the road the night of the storm.
On my way back home I shot this moment where water was almost over the road here. I’ve never seen it this high and I do think it was over the road the night of the storm.

Emotions Start Now

This is where it all hits me. This is my return, today, to Lynn Nash Road. The water has risen and has pushed back about a quarter of a mile. My dad kind of had an "Oh shit" moment. The water had never been this high, and you tell the rain was relentless.
This is where it all hits me. This is my return, today, to Lynn Nash Road. The water has risen and has pushed back about a quarter of a mile. My dad kind of had an “Oh shit” moment. The water had never been this high, and you tell the rain was relentless.
A photo check while I was prepping the camera and getting it "rain ready". Tested my lens to check for moisture and what do you know, I took a photo that, to me, kind of summed up the entire atmosphere and mood of the day. In the back you can see that my dad is trying his damndest, but you know he's on the verge of breaking.
A photo check while I was prepping the camera and getting it “rain ready”. Tested my lens to check for moisture and what do you know, I took a photo that, to me, kind of summed up the entire atmosphere and mood of the day. In the back you can see that my dad is trying his damndest, but you know he’s on the verge of breaking.
The roof in front is my parent's carport where my dad's "little bigfoot" is currently resting. The roof that is all askew to the back/left is the pump shed which has released from the foundation. That pump house was well over 20 years old, and was in perfect condition. The roof the the left, behind the trees? My parent's house.
The roof in front is my parent’s carport where my dad’s “little bigfoot” is currently resting. The roof that is all askew to the back/left is the pump shed which has released from the foundation. That pump house was well over 20 years old, and was in perfect condition. The roof the the left, behind the trees? My parent’s house.
A wider angle to give you an idea of the house and all the buildings. The building the back/right of the carport is a little storage shed that is currently bobbing like a cork.
A wider angle to give you an idea of the house and all the buildings. The building the back/right of the carport is a little storage shed that is currently bobbing like a cork.
A better shot of the shed bobbing like a cork. This is no small shed. I believe it was 16 x 26 feet and when the water resides we are going to have a hell of a hard time getting into it.
A better shot of the shed bobbing like a cork. This is no small shed. I believe it was 16 x 26 feet and when the water resides we are going to have a hell of a hard time getting into it.
I was speaking with a coworker and friend of mine, Ty Wyatt, tonight and I was explaining to him that when we rode into my parent's place on a boat, that I had a bracket for a basketball goal that was 11 foot off the ground. My Uncle Carl actually made this for me, and there is is on the light post. That's how high the water was when we arrived. Eleven. Feet.
I was speaking with a coworker and friend of mine, Ty Wyatt, tonight and I was explaining to him that when we rode into my parent’s place on a boat, that I had a bracket for a basketball goal that was 11 foot off the ground. My Uncle Carl actually made this for me, and there is is on the light post. That’s how high the water was when we arrived. Eleven. Feet.
Following the flood in 1999, my dad had the insane notion that me and him and a couple of hands here and there could lift his house to avoid the next floods. We worked our asses off to get this project done. It wasn't easy and it completely gave me the notion that not only was my dad a bad ass carpenter, he was some kind of insane engineering wizard. We cut seals and lifted the house and dropped the porch There have been several times in my life where I was part of my dad's insane plans, and this was one of the memories that make me appreciate the art of not only building, but also remodeling. This new lifted house went through several floods unscathed and I remember my dad saying "If water ever gets it my house this time we all in trouble!" My father has this uncanny ability to predict the future, determine outcomes, troubleshoot issues to prevent problems...and..he's always right. Water got into his house. Everyone's in trouble now.
Following the flood in 1999, my dad had the insane notion that me and him and a couple of hands here and there could lift his house to avoid the next floods. We worked our asses off to get this project done. It wasn’t easy and it completely gave me the notion that not only was my dad a bad ass carpenter, he was some kind of insane engineering wizard. We cut seals and lifted the house and dropped the porch There have been several times in my life where I was part of my dad’s insane plans, and this was one of the memories that make me appreciate the art of not only building, but also remodeling. This new “lifted house” went through several floods unscathed and I remember my dad saying “If water ever gets it my house this time we all in trouble!” My father has this uncanny ability to predict the future, determine outcomes, troubleshoot issues to prevent problems…and..he’s always right. Water got into his house. Everyone’s in trouble now.
While this shows the best view of the storage shed, I took this photo with that odd T shaped piece of piping sticking out of the water. There are a few people that know what this is, and have even used it to skin hogs and deer. This skinning pole was one of my dad's insane projects that I didn't get to help with (I was out of the house by this point). It was one of the things he was very proud of, and when he builds a new one, I am helping with it. Oh, and that thing is like 15 feet high. We got a good idea of how high the water is now?
While this shows the best view of the storage shed, I took this photo with that odd T shaped piece of piping sticking out of the water. There are a few people that know what this is, and have even used it to skin hogs and deer. This skinning pole was one of my dad’s insane projects that I didn’t get to help with (I was out of the house by this point). It was one of the things he was very proud of, and when he builds a new one, I am helping with it. Oh, and that thing is like 15 feet high. We got a good idea of how high the water is now?
This is use departing my parent's place and to the very left, partly out of frame, is my dad's first big project post house construction. It was his workshop. His workshop was torn from the foundation and is floating. I am terrified of the water receding at this point. I regret not getting a shot of the shed, but the current was making it hard to navigate and my dad's emotional turmoil was really hindering his maneuvering skills. He was ready to escape this scene.
This is use departing my parent’s place and to the very left, partly out of frame, is my dad’s first big project post house construction. It was his workshop. His workshop was torn from the foundation and is floating. I am terrified of the water receding at this point. I regret not getting a shot of the shed, but the current was making it hard to navigate and my dad’s emotional turmoil was really hindering his maneuvering skills. He was ready to escape this scene.
Lens check time. I was having focus issues and I used this light pole to get my focus right. While not much, it shows that flood waters in this area were anything but still and that being in these waters at any point in time are very dangerous.
Lens check time. I was having focus issues and I used this light pole to get my focus right. While not much, it shows that flood waters in this area were anything but still and that being in these waters at any point in time are very dangerous.
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This is the back of my Aunt Joy’s trailer. This trailer was very high off of the ground, and as you can see, it’s sunk. In fact, as I type this, it is most likely completely submerged. My Aunt lost her previous trailer to floodwaters, or well, the damage eventually led to her having to get a new trailer. I believe the Burr Ferry Pentecostal Church helped set this trailer up. They helped get it connected and everything. See, my aunt is currently raising three of her grand daughters, and from this photo, it’s safe to assume, like many others, she has essentially lost everything.
This is my Aunt Joy's pump house (I think). I think it is floating here, but I can't be sure. I don't remember it being so tall. The power lines in the background have an interesting backstory. During one flood, and I believe this to be 1999, Ezra, My Aunt's husband at the time, stayed in and my cousins (Cannon, Creg and Greg Jordan) were with him, or they were going to him in a boat. The power lines broke and hit the water and they apparently walked on water because they made it from their boat to the porch before anything could happen. Or the power wasn't on at the time.
This is my Aunt Joy’s pump house (I think). I think it is floating here, but I can’t be sure. I don’t remember it being so tall. The power lines in the background have an interesting backstory. During one flood, and I believe this to be 1999, Ezra, My Aunt’s husband at the time, stayed in and my cousins (Cannon, Creg and Greg Jordan) were with him, or they were going to him in a boat. The power lines broke and hit the water and they apparently walked on water because they made it from their boat to the porch before anything could happen. Or the power wasn’t on at the time.
Lens check. Damn water on my lens. I was trying to get my zoom and things rigged up because we were moving fast due to the current and we had more photos to snap. This was actually a beautiful site because the cedars were so green (and have always been this green).
Lens check. Damn water on my lens. I was trying to get my zoom and things rigged up because we were moving fast due to the current and we had more photos to snap. This was actually a beautiful site because the cedars were so green (and have always been this green).
This is the whole front of my Aunt Joy's place. This should give you a better idea of water height.
This is the whole front of my Aunt Joy’s place. This should give you a better idea of water height.
You may be thinking "Lens check?" No, this is no lens check. What you see is the remaining 8 or so inches of Cannon Jordan's house (I think. The water had me totally discombobulated at this point.)
You may be thinking “Lens check?” No, this is no lens check. What you see is the remaining 8 or so inches of Cannon Jordan’s house (I think. The water had me totally discombobulated at this point.)
My Aunt Debra's trailer has fallen off of the cinder blocks. This old trailer survived the 1999 flood, but it had water in it. She and her brood spent quite a bit of time, money, and effort stripping carpet and replacing floors and walls. I don't believe the trailer, nor any structure in my small, swampy, neighborhood will survive.
My Aunt Debra’s trailer has fallen off of the cinder blocks. This old trailer survived the 1999 flood, but it had water in it. She and her brood spent quite a bit of time, money, and effort stripping carpet and replacing floors and walls. I don’t believe the trailer, nor any structure in my small, swampy, neighborhood will survive.  Also, I could not get a good angle because class 5 rapids and what not.
We traveled down the "High Line" (for you unfamiliar folk, the High Line is basically where the power lines run through the woods, and we use them for travel purposes). We were on our way to go up the end of Burr Cemetery Rd.
We traveled down the “High Line” (for you unfamiliar folk, the High Line is basically where the power lines run through the woods, and we use them for travel purposes). We were on our way to go up the end of Burr Cemetery Rd.  That deer blind is one of my cousin’s (I think).
I tried to keep my dad out of frame because he was a mess, but I wanted this photo of the power lines in the water. My dad was worried about the lines being hot. My cousin said they weren't and I said something like "I guess if you feel a tingling sensation, we'll know." I spent a great deal of time trying to redirect my dad's mind.
I tried to keep my dad out of frame because he was a mess, but I wanted this photo of the power lines in the water. My dad was worried about the lines being hot. My cousin said they weren’t and I said something like “I guess if you feel a tingling sensation, we’ll know.” I spent a great deal of time trying to redirect my dad’s mind.
I'm not sure who lives here anymore, but this is the old William's place that sits at the end of Burr Cemetery Road. I wonder if the camera's were still recording?
I’m not sure who lives here anymore, but this is the old William’s place that sits at the end of Burr Cemetery Road. I wonder if the camera’s were still recording?
This is Kelli Pennington's place. We floated by here and eventually went and picked her and Peggy Pennington, and another girl that I could not remember at all. She teaches at Evans, though. When we took them to their house they managed to pack a few bags while me and dad waited in the boat. I was barefooted and was totally not about to walk into an unknown, almost palatial house. It was heartbreaking to see Kelli's reaction to her brand new house being flooded.
This is Kelli Pennington’s place. We floated by here and eventually went and picked her and Peggy Pennington, and another girl that I could not remember at all. She teaches at Evans, though. When we took them to their house they managed to pack a few bags while me and dad waited in the boat. I was barefooted and was totally not about to walk into an unknown, almost palatial house. It was heartbreaking to see Kelli’s reaction to her brand new house being flooded.
This is Kenny Pennington's house (I think. I don't really know the Pennington's well at all. I know their faces, and I talk to them when I see them.) Ran into Kade Mitchell (I think) and the one guy I knew, the ornery Dustin Britain who lost his house completely as he lived on the bank of the river. He was helping out and he was on his way to try to save his boat. It's always fun to talk to Dustin because if you can find a topic to hit him with, he will NOT stop dropping F bombs about it and it's hilarious and we needed that.
This is Kenny Pennington’s house (I think. I don’t really know the Pennington’s well at all. I know their faces, and I talk to them when I see them.) Ran into Kade Mitchell (I think) and the one guy I knew, the ornery Dustin Britain who lost his house completely as he lived on the bank of the river. He was helping out and he was on his way to try to save his boat. It’s always fun to talk to Dustin because if you can find a topic to hit him with, he will NOT stop dropping F bombs about it and it’s hilarious and we needed that.
Lens check. I was trying to play with the manual focus, and this was the best I could do. A fountain in the middle of a flood.
Lens check. I was trying to play with the manual focus, and this was the best I could do. A fountain in the middle of a flood.

I am sitting here in my office at 1:30 AM and I’ll be honest with you.  I am crying a little bit.  It was very hard to not break down with my dad, but I needed to be his rock for a few moments today.  A lot of people in my community are going to need rocks.  I will most likely be posting more images of this catastrophe over the course of this nightmare.  These photos, again, are very important.

Earlier, at the beginning of this post, I said “What do we have now?”

We have each other, and I learned today that nothing is permanent, except for human connection.  Churches, schools, community programs, nonprofits, governmental agencies, families and friends must come together to preserve that one thing.  Because that is the one thing that will get us to dry land, clean drinking water, food and shelter.

Please be safe.  I fear for all of us in the coming months.

All photos taken by John Nash.

100 thoughts on “Washing Away My Childhood”

  1. I am crying…. I have to tell you, my favorite place down here was your parents front porch, to see it now breaks my heart.

    1. It’s still there, just not in a liveable capacity. I think we will have something left to turn into a camp house of sorts, but my parents will not be returning to live there. At this moment the waters have receded quite a bit, the roads are still submerged, but we will find out soon if we can even drive back there anymore.

  2. John this is so heartbreaking. I just can’t imagine this kind of devastion. The entire community most if which is family are in our prayers. Just so thankful everyone got out with their lives and are safe. Please know if we can do anything we are here. Love all of y’all , Donna

    1. Donna, if you haven’t done so, go to this page https://www.gofundme.com/9euncet8 and spare a dollar or two to the go fund me page? It’s for them to get a new place started. If you can’t, could you share it on facebook? If you have already, thank you, I have not had time to really look at the GFM page yet.

  3. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family…. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help….

  4. Couldn’t say it any better cuz. Words can’t express what I feel for y’all and what was lost. Almost all of my extreme happy memories are down in those woods and my heart weeps for each and every one of you. My thoughts and prayers are with you guys.

    1. Thanks Nathan. I miss visiting with you and hope you can come down some time and see my babies. I just got some pictures of Lynn Nash Road from my cousin and wow. We may need a military engineer who has an expertise in traversing canyons to get back there.

  5. Thank you for these unbelievable photos and your words. As difficult as it is to see we need to see it. So many names & roads recognized though I grew up between Newton & Burkeville Texas & so much devastation on both sides. Prayers for your family & for all thought who are coping with this new reality in the days & months ahead…

    1. I will be posting as many photos in the same manner as my time will allow me. I want to go out this week and get some road damage photos. I would love to have a drone for some images that I can’t easily get to. I will be trying to reference road names and try to relate some of my past experiences to give each photo some human feeling to it. I want everyone to see every photo that every person has taken and I want the community from Northwest to Southwest LA to rise in anger against those controlling the flood gates at the Sabine River Authority. Their policies need to be transparent and they need to be changed with flood control taking precedent over profit and recreation.

  6. Hi Misty
    This is Annette. Please let us know how we can help.
    Also, want to know if everyone was able to get out safely?

    1. Hey Annette, You can help by going to this site: https://www.gofundme.com/9euncet8 and sparing any money for my parents to get started setting up a new place. They have a long road ahead of them, and I would hate for their progress to be held up because they could not afford the basic foundation stuff.

  7. What do we have now? That was your closing remark and let me give an answer.

    You have your mom, dad and sister. Though they feel broken and all seems lost, God kept them safe. The real tragedy wouldve been saving the material things but losing those you love. I’m not meaning this to be ugly or rude. Just answering your question. My heart goes out to all those in my hometown who have been affected by this flood. God will bless.

  8. I am completely devastated for you and your family. I know there is nothing I can say that will ease any of the hurt your family is experiencing right now. But I am praying and can only hope that the prayers of many will help bring some sort of calm to everyone affected. Even if it is only 1 second of forgetfulness or a small treasure found that was thought lost.
    May God completely wrap His loving arms around each and everyone of you

  9. I am so sorry for everyone’s loss. This is terrible. Some have insurance and some do not. This so pitiful!
    Thank you for all of the pictures. I am from New Llano, La. and now live in Vero Beach, Fl.
    God be with you and your family.

    1. Thank you, my parent’s had insurance, but they were very underinsured. The price of insurance in a floodzone was insane, and it’s not a monthly fee – it is a lump sum.

  10. I’m so very sorry for your family’s loss of your childhood home. I live on Toledo Bend and I understand the love of living on or near the water. It becomes a part of your soul and who you are. As I read your story and looked at the pictures my heart just broke for everyone who has lost their everything in this flood. I have you all in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you!!

    1. Thank you very much. Living close to the river is a way of life for me and my bunch, and to see my parents being forced away from it is heartbreaking. I don’t want to see them lose everything again, however.

  11. I am so sorry for your family’s loss..I coul dnot imagine..My heart will always be in LA/TX all my family still live there. I chose to move to Ga 16 years ago but, wish I could do something for all of you..My PRAYERS are with you.

  12. “What do we have now?”
    You have God. And right now all of you need his “shelter from the storm”.
    Our prayers are with your family and community as well.
    Robert and Kasey Lucas
    Gun Barrel, Tx

  13. Thank you for sharing your story, my heart breaks for all of the people affected by the flood waters. I have family on Toro creek by canoe rental and used to go to my PawPaws as a kid almost every weekend up there…. he passed so now all grandkids has camps… my cousins! I will keep your family as well all of the others that are going through this in my prayers. 👼 💖 God Bless you all! 😢👼💖

  14. Hi John Nash. So sorry for your family. But glad that you all are safe. You May or may not be a cousin I have never met. I’m a dependent of Thomas Nash and Emily Sarah Slater. I just wanted to thank you for sharing with us and let you know that I’m thinking of your family. May God be with you all.
    Charlotte Murray Hamilton.

    1. Thank you. It may be that we are related and have never met. I am not the genealogist of the family, but I feel that, in this particular event, we are all family.

  15. Thank you so much for sharing. We ,who have never been thru such as this, have no idea of the horror of seeing EVERY thing you own being destroyed & you having no control over it. I will be praying for God to bless all the families with comfort during this time. God bless you for telling the story .

    1. Thank you. If you are interested in reading more, I am not done and will not be done for a while. I have a lot to share and a lot to say.

  16. John,
    Thank you for sharing with us. I grew up in the Junction so I am familiar with the area. My heart is breaking for everyone. This article is so well written and witty that I believe it would make a good book. We are praying for everyone effected by this tragedy and believe that we will come back from this stronger than before. We ate here to help in any way possible. We will be at Calvary Baptist in the Junction giving away items for those that have lost so much. You have touched us with your words and we thank you. People are what makes a community special. God Bless!

    1. Wow, thank you for the head inflating comment! I love to write, and have tried my hand at writing books. I am currently toying around with the idea of making a book with the information I am creating, but it will be a bit more laborious as I try to chase down more specific information. Thank you for helping, and if you guys are at the junction, I am sure the folks in Merryville will be visiting soon, if not now.

  17. Thanks for sharing ur pic and thoughts….we all know it has been a lot of rain but ur pic help us to see what is really going on……..keeping all in our prayers…

    1. That’s the beauty of technology today. The last bad flood here was in 1999. The Internet was just a passing fad and very slow. Photographs were limited by film and digital cameras was terrible. Now we can take 1000s of photos on one little $5 memory card that come out in tremendous quality. Also, the Internet is a high performing machine that went from “fad” to essentially running the world. It’s our time to use it.

  18. Thank you for this. I sit here in tears also because most of my family is from Evans/Vernon parish. I have been gone many year and don’t remember much of the area. It is so heartbreaking to know this tragedy has affected so many good people.

  19. I know that right now it feels like this is the end of the world. Believe me I watched the water rush through my home from the upstairs window of my eighties house during Hurricane Ike. I live in Bridge City. My home was also my childhood home it was the only home I had ever known. I watched as I realized that all my children’s pictures were washed away. I watched as all the mementos for my deceased son were destroyed. After getting away from the disaster that night I kept thinking to myself that the lives that my Mom and Dad and then of my husband and I were gone. You know something. It wasn’t. Oh sure the material part was gone, but the fabric of our lives and what made each of us who we are today is still there. It is not easy to sart over, and it is absolutely HORRIBLE to watch the symbols of our memories be washed away. But I can see that the strength of your family will be unscathed, I can see that from your writings. Please know that our prayers are with all of your family and friends. I hope that each person that has affected by this flood will be made whole as quickly as possible.

    1. Thank you, and I am sorry you went through a similar experience. We will overcome this all, but the loss is terrible and it is a tremendous weight placed on the shoulders of many people like my parents who are at a point in their lives where they should be settling down, and many people who are at a point in their lives where they are just getting started. It’s a diverse set of circumstances to wrap your head around.

  20. Thank you for sharing your story and pictures! Prayers for you and your family and everyone affected by these floods in this time of total loss and devastation! I pray for your mental emotional and physical strength, peace of mind, safety and that y’all can stay together! Prayers that y’all can start again and better than ever! And praying for those that are having to prepare for flood waters still too come in the next few days!

    1. The photos I have seen of the floodwaters down south are echoes of what community is going through. There are people that are doing their best to record the events through photography. Thank you for the kind words.

  21. Thanks for the pictures it is so sad that this has happened to so many people and left them homeless. We are praying for everyone and thanking God that at less they got out with their life .

    1. I am not sure of a total death toll yet, but the last I heard it was three, and none here in my community. Looking at the devastation that was left over, I would say that our parish authorities did a great job of warning and evacuating folks. I hope the people down south of here took note and followed suit.

  22. I know exactly the emptiness you are feeling; my grandparents on both sides, uncles, aunts, cousins,friends, the little Fairdale Baptist Church…….all just memories now. They did get to move their belongings out, but nothing replaces that comfort of”home”. I am 71 years old now, but that longing for grandmothers house still leaves an ache in my heart. I’m sure you know by now that I’m talking about Toledo Bend Dam….homes and land were taken and now I look at the lake as a cemetery of long past homes and woodlands, the town that “went under”… Fsirdale, was the land and homes of my ancestors.This same dam Is still wreaking havoc in the wake of disastrous flooding. I pray that God will give you comfort as only He can do in this trying time. You will be in our prayers as well as the other folks affected by this catastrophe.

    1. The land they took to make Toledo Bend was great. The most recent period of the lake almost drying up uncovered some very interesting artifacts from that time gone by. I wish there were some photos and some journals or something that explored and explained the previous townships that had to be sacrificed for bass tournaments and electricity.

  23. Prayers for you and yours! If we can be of assistance please let us know. Anthony, Pam, Katie & Mark Boswell.

    1. Thank you for trying to support the community. Hundreds in my community alone need help, but thousands will be in need by the time this is all over.

  24. Sad, but beautifully told, my heart breaks for each of you that is suffering from this horrible event…God be with each of you.

    1. Thank you. One of my joys in life is being able to sit down and just write. I am glad my time writing has finally rendered something that can be appreciated by so many!

  25. I am originally from the Simpson area but live in New Orleans now. After losing most of our things in Katrina, I understand your heartache. It will be a long road to recovery but as long as you and your family are safe and healthy, nothing else really matters. Material possessions can mostly be replaced. Grieve at your loss but remember to move forward and not get mired down in depression. I sincerely hope the best for everyone in the area and that “normal” life isn’t too far away. You all are in my thoughts.

    1. Thank you. I think the most heartbreak is that this flood forced my parents decision to move out away from the river. Followed by the fact that they lost everything they spent their whole lives working to build. They will prevail, but they will not get back certain things, unfortunately.

  26. This is heart breaking and horrible. You and your community and family will be in my prayers. Did you go to Hicks High School? I went to school with a John Nash. He was 3 or 4 years younger than me.

    Hope things get better soon for all of you down there.

    1. I did not attend Hicks High School, I went to Evans High School. Thanks for your kind words! Things will get better, we refuse to let them get us down.

  27. This is an amazing photo journal record of a devastating event. You are a good writer and photographer, and yes, you are preserving history. Prayers for all of the people who have and are still suffering from this disaster. May God send his angels and blessings to comfort you. He has already sent you each other. And you have been given an amazing insight in this crisis. God bless all of you and show you something better in your future.

    1. Thank you. This project is very personal and a challenge for me. I am using all the time and energy I can muster to get it out there for folks to witness.

  28. THANKS FOR SHARING YOUR PHOTOS. THIS IS SO SAD TO KNOW ALL THESE GOOD PEOPLE
    HAVE LOST EVERYTHING. MY PRAYER ARE WITH ALL EFFECTED.

  29. My heart and prayers are with you and others who are suffering right now. Some years back I lost my home to fire. No time to gather anything material, as you mentioned, baby picts. etc. however I came out with the only thing that mattered, that was my three young sons. It is painful for a long time when I just knew I had this or that and would then realize that was before the fire. I will continue to pray for all of you. May God Bless and comfort you.

  30. Was reading your posts and looking at your pics, with a heavy heart. I am near Hemphill, Tx. Wet, but ok here. My daughter teaches and lives in DeRidder. Her in-laws live on the FM that goes from Burr Ferry area to a convenient store up toward Toledo Bend Damn. Their property backs up to the river. Praying for all down that way!

  31. This is heart breaking .. so many of our friends have water standing in their homes but not totally lost.. my prayers go out to all of yaw..

    1. Well, many of the houses are still there, but they have been knocked off blocks, or the water damage has left them essentially demolished. We have a lot of work cut out for us. Thank you.

  32. God bless you and your family and friends. I’m thankful that you had no fatalities, and sorrowful for you that you have lost so many precious memories.

    Jeri-Anne

    1. Thank you. We will try to save as much as we can. My mom said many of her photos were on SD cards. The thing about SD cards is that they are recoverable from water damage. Just hope we can find them!

  33. I’m so very sad and sorry for your loss. May The Lord Bless you and lift you up in this time of need and sorrow. John you did a wonderful job with the pictures and story. You should think about writing a book. I’ll continue to lift all of you up in prayer. I live just across the State line in Texas. I only missed a few days of work. However I have friends who lost their homes and vehicles. It’s just horrible. However, as you said, we have each other and as long as we keep together in helping each other. All will be well. John, don’t be fearful, for Jesus said, † “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
    John 16:33 < God Bless <

    1. Thank you! The damage was great across the areas south of the damn and many lost everything. Thank you for the kind compliments. I would love to write a boot, or create a photo book of this event. Maybe time will be on my side.

  34. Dear Mr. Nash,
    I am so sorry for the devastating loss suffered by your family and friends, as well as yourself. I can only imagine the terrible grief all of you must be experiencing. I hope the healing process begins soon for you, and all of you are in my prayers.

  35. My heart just breaks for your family. I pray for comfort for the days and months ahead. The Lord tells us that material things are not of his world but it is still so hard to see your possessions lost in such a way. You are correct that you have each other and that is the most important thing and I pray that will bring comfort. I was raised in Anacoco and I have many friends that have been flooded and are going through the same horrible nightmare. I live in Haughton, La. now and there are many up here that are going through the same nightmare. God Bless you and your family and again I am so sorry for your parent’s and extended families lost.

  36. Looks like we left there just in time….. NOT by choice. We lived off Hwy 111, Ben West Rd, on Duffy McInnis Rd. You know the property that use to belong to Gilmer Jeane…. We lived there and made so many improvements, for 30 yrs…… It was God’s Country as far as we were concerned.. We attended Toledo Bend Bible Baptist, A truly Spirit-filled church, just before Tid Bits and Tackle…. We after the gov stole our land, trees, house, barn ect… we moved here to Georgia…. couldn’t bear to stay and see what was to become of all our hard work. I guess you could say, YOU may be feeling a little of what we felt. Then try to move 40 AC worth of farm equipment, what we didn’t give away. We had Good Godly friends, the Williams’ and Walter Hicks that loaned us trailers and backbone…. to move 9 trips , 15 hours one way…. because the gov would only move us 50 miles…. I don’t believe they will be using our land for the purpose they claim…… I think Vernon Parish will be inundated with illegals and muslims…… Then that is a good place for an prison camp for Patriots and Christians. When this happens; just remember the local politians and majority of people there were
    onboard with the Land Grab……. You may goff at what I am saying……. just think and consider what I am saying. Because I know there are good Christian people there ….. I pray for you daily….. I lived there since 1975, in Vernon Parish…… I felt like it was Home…. GOD BLESS YOU ALL…..

  37. John, thanks for the article and pics. I’m familiar with some of the areas you photographed and wrote about. I grew up in the Burr Ferry area btwn 1943 and 1961, sometimes I drive thru and marvel at the changes. Who are your parents? Who is uncle Carl and aunt Joy? I was raise next to Uncle John Nash, and worked for Willie, Eddie and Wilburn Nash on their farms located on hyw 111 between Burr Ferry and Evans and worked for Eddie on his place on the Fal Gravel road, the farm and slaughter house. TKS, Gene A. Swain, Sr

    1. My father is Kelly Nash and my Grandfather is Lynn Nash. I think the John Nash you are referring to may be my great grandfather, but I am not sure. Uncle Carl is Carl Thompson from Evans, and Aunt Joy is Joy Nash/Brookshire/Carson – she is my dad’s sister, and the youngest child of Lynn and Rachel Nash. Willie, Eddie, and Wilburn are my uncles and cousins I think. I think Wilburn is James Nash’s daddy, but again, not so sure. I spent a little bit with some of them, but I am terrible with names.

      1. Thanks, I got you now. Your great granddad was my great uncle John who I lived next too. Your granddad Lynn and your dad Kelly lived across the road in Norman and Carrie Myers place after the moved to Shreveport. I minnow fished for Lynn in the Sabine river and Anacoco Creek during the summer sometimes. All my brothers and sisters live around Evans, Burr Ferry and Anacoco.

  38. I am so very sorry for all you, your family and all in the area have lost. You are correct, you have each other and that is something to be thankful for. Though I imagine thankful is not a word being used much at the moment. Prayers for you all as you try to recover from this. Try to use the time to rebuild family bonds and start new collections of photos and memories to reflect on many years down the road. The tears flowed freely as I read your tender heart felt words and witnessed the power of mother nature when she is pissed off. Thank you for sharing this very personal moment with the world. May it find you peace and love from anyone who sees it. Couldnt hurt if brings you some help with cleanup and restoration of the area and your families home and heart. When you have each other there is always a good foundation to begin again. God bless you and know that many prayers will be sent up for healing your hearts and minds. Thanks again Mr Nash. Please hug your mom and dad for me, extra long and tight. Donna Anderson, Beaumont, Tx

  39. I am so sorry for everything that you are experiencing right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the folks in your area, as well as all in our beautiful state. I live in Natchitoches now, but am from DeRidder. My Dad’s family are all from the Evans/Burr Ferry area. When we were kids, we went to Pearl Creek every chance we got. Lots of good memories there. Stay safe – our prayers are with you.

    1. Thank you very much. Pearl Creek was a place I loved visiting as a kid. We would ride our four wheelers over there and play around on the waterfall. The place was a gold mine for the imagination. It received a great deal of water from the rain as well as backing up with water from the Sabine.

  40. Thank you for this .I lived close by thier my dad was Thomas jones .I have family thier and worry about them.seeing this makes me cry daddy and family members are buried thier burr ferry cemetery .all that area I grew up around .ty John for letting us see that is not thier .it is heart breaking .

    1. Thank you. Fortunately, the waters did not make it to the cemetery as it did in some in Evans. Be sure to call your people and check on them!

  41. Wow ,this was so heart breaking.I do not know you are your family but this brought me to tears. I pray for your family and everyone affected by this disaster. The way you narrated the details with emotion and humor was simply beautiful . I’m glad you shared your life story they way you were led to. May God heal your broken hearts and restore peace and joy back to you all.

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