River reverses pattern

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 2, 2008

VIDALIA — Standing at approximately 54.6 feet, the Mississippi River is still well above flood stage, but with its receding waters some signs of normalcy are starting to return.

The Vidalia Riverfront is still closed, but most of the water that flooded the streets when the river started to back up the drains recently is gone.

“Hopefully the river dropping about another foot will get the water completely off the street,” Vidalia Street Superintendent Lee Staggs said. “I won’t say we won this fight, but we fought it really, really hard.”

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The riverwalk will re-open Saturday, but the police will still patrol it for safety, Mayor Hyram Copeland said.

“The river is starting to get far enough back for us to re-open it, but people need to remember that the river is still extremely dangerous,” Copeland said.

At Natchez Under-the-Hill — where both Magnolia Grill and the Isle of Capri Casino were forced to close because of the water — Magnolia Grill will reopen today.

The city told Magnolia Grill to close after the floodwaters forced them to close the lift station that takes sewage up and away from Under-the-Hill.

Magnolia Grill Owner Pat McDaniel said he was glad the business could reopen, but they won’t be doing anything special to note the occasion.

“It’s just going to be business as usual,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel said he wanted to thank City Engineer David Gardner and engineering employee David Atkins.

“They have done a tremendous amount of work in the last few weeks,” McDaniel said.

Meanwhile, the Concordia Parish Emergency Preparedness board met Thursday to discuss the current situation, Emergecy Preparedness Director Morris White said.

“With the river dropping, the stress is off the levees a little bit and we’re beginning to have less pressure on the sand boils, and everything is getting a little better than it was,” White said. “At the present time, our levees are strong and we’re doing well, and those above us are doing better.”

The river is falling, and that is how emergency management wants it to stay, White said.

Flood stage at the Natchez-Vidalia pass is 48 feet.