Residents cope with rising waters

Published 11:55 pm Tuesday, April 8, 2008

NATCHEZ — While several hunting camps lining the Mississippi have already fallen victim to the rising river, one man is making a last ditch effort to kept the river from his camp.

Armed with 24 yards of sand and 3,000 bags, Pete Delaune, of Gonzales, took a day off of work to line his camp with sandbags.

“We want to keep the water out,” he said.

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Delaune’s camp, near the St. Catherine Creek Wildlife Refuge, is within feet of the floodwaters.

Over the weekend Delaune cleared out the shed, a few yards away from the camp itself, in the event it went under water.

On Tuesday the water had already begun to touch the bottom of the shed.

Delaune said he has never seen the water as high as it is now since he purchased the camp in 2000.

Based on crest projections, Delaune said he expects water the will cover the floor of his camp, hopefully not more.

But for residents who actually live near Delaune’s camp, on Bourke Road, the rising water is just part of life.

Delaune’s camp is practically in Gina Cauthen’s backyard.

Cauthen, who has lived on Bourke Road for 18 years, said rising water is a part of life on Bourke Road.

“We can’t really do anything about it,” she said.

Cauthen said the last time she witnessed such high water was in 1997.

Turning off Cloverdale Road on to Bourke Road, the road makes a continuous descent next to the wild life refuge.

On both sides off the dirt road floodwaters are creeping ever closer to the road’s surface.

Cauthen said in 1997, when the road was completely covered by water, her family was forced to traverse the road by boat.

And Cauthen’s not the only resident with boat commuting experience in the area.

Carl Dunn has lived on Bourke Road since 1973.

Dunn said if the river’s crest follows expectations, the road will be covered by water.

Dunn said in 1973 the water was so high it easily covered the hood of a pickup truck.

“We went by boat for six weeks,” he said.

But Dunn said the rising water does not concern him, he already has a boat on standby.

Adams County Civil Defense director Stan Owens said if the current projections for the river’s crest are correct, the road will likely be underwater.

“People living in that area should leave before then,” he said.