Miss-Lou pulls together to help town

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 26, 1999

FERRIDAY, La. – During the Ferriday water crisis, Amos Jones filled 10 to 15 jugs with water three times a day at the Ferriday High water site – but not just for himself. &uot;Some people don’t have a way to get over here, so I&160;get some to take to them,&uot;&160;Jones said. But on a larger scale, local governments and other organizations also pitched in to supply water to customers and get the town’s water plant operating again after it failed Monday.

At the request of Morris White, Concordia Parish’s civil defense director, the National Guard brought 10 400-gallon trucks filled with water to the town, setting them up at schools as well as some elderly housing sites.

They had passed out 70,000 gallons of water by noon Thursday. &uot;And we will be here until they can drink the water again&uot;&160;in another seven to 10 days, said Specialist Tommy Riddick of Pineville, La.

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&uot;Thank God for the National Guard,&uot;&160;Jones said. &uot;When someone helps you out like that, it really means something.&uot;

The National Guard got the water from the Town of Vidalia, hauling 5,000 gallons away at a time, said Mark Morace, Vidalia’s water supervisor.

&uot;But I&160;don’t know how much water they got total, because we’re not metering them,&uot;&160;Morace said. &uot;We’re letting them get all they need, and we’re glad to help.&uot;

In addition, the Coca-Cola Co. distributed bottled water at Ferriday Town Hall Tuesday. The Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office delivered water to elderly people who could not easily haul water on their own.

The Sheriff’s Office also lent four to 10 inmates to the town at a time to do the maintenance necessary to get the plant running again, said Town Attorney John Sturgeon – and they weren’t alone.

In fact, crews from the Town of Ridgecrest and the Concordia Parish Water District and workers from Concordia Parish Fire District No. 1 helped get the water back online.

Both Ridgecrest and Concordia also supplied some water, with District No. 1 supplying a 5,000-gallon tank, said Ferriday Fire Chief Herman Smith.

Ridgecrest also supplied additional chemicals, while International Paper sent two workers with some needed equipment to the plant.

&uot;It was truly a community effort,&uot; Sturgeon said.

Another critical need was enough water to keep the Ferriday Fire Department supplied in case an emergency sapped the water from its two 2,000-gallon tanks.

So Concordia Fire District No. 1 filled two 5,000-gallon tanks with water for Ferriday’s use, while the Ridgecrest Fire Department filled one 1,000-gallon tank and another with a least 1,500 gallons, Smith said.

Each fire department placed one of its tanks inside the Ferriday town limits so it would be closer in case of emergency.

&uot;Thankfully, we didn’t need it, but I&160;still can’t say ‘thank you’ enough to them,&uot;&160;Smith said.

With so many people and organizations helping out, Jones could not help but see a silver lining to the town’s water problems. Through their efforts, he said, &uot;God is blessing Ferriday.&uot;