Flood pulls community together

Published 12:03 am Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fishing is certainly not on my mind this week.

I could not begin to tell you how many people have come through our shop asking us to please get their boats and motors repaired as soon as possible so they can move their belongings from low-lying areas that are already flooded or about to flood.

Our city officials are doing a great job keeping us informed and working with the people in this area.

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The local people have come together to offer their help to those in need. It is a great thing to see how well all are joining together to help us through this flood. Hopefully the levees will hold and Concordia, Catahoula and other parishes as well as low-lying areas in Adams County will all remain safe.

If they do open Morganza Spillway my thoughts and prayers go out to the 25,000 plus people that will be displaced. It is hard to imagine three million acres of farm ground, swamps and marshes that will be flooded if the spillway is open.

I have fished the Atchafalaya Basin many times, witnessed and enjoyed its beauty and that is where this water will end up if the spillway is open. It does worry me that this water contains so much pollution. I pray that the swamps and marshes will rebound quickly. I have spoken with several people that live in and around Morganza. Most are taking this very well.

They said they knew when they chose to live below Morganza that there is that chance the spillway will, one day, have to be opened. It’s been 38 years since that spillway was opened. I was there when it did in 1973.

I recall a lot about the flood of 1973 when our levee was not as high. I watched as the river washed away huge sections of the levee but it held the water back, and I feel sure it will hold the water back this time.

We were farmers back then. We farmed ground below Vidalia. We moved here from Arkansas in late 1960s as sharecroppers and lived in mobile homes. I recall my dad and uncles laying out boards so we could walk to the trailers without getting our feet wet. I also recall those boards washing away.

We had to haul drinking water with a tractor and tank from a couple miles away to water tanks sitting on stilts behind our houses. Many of us have been though some tough times and it is during those times when people come together, put their differences aside and help each other. This is far from over. We will feel the effects of this flood for a long time. All we can do is continue what we are doing now. Work together, stop the rumors and stop blasting the city, parish and county officials.

They are doing their very best to keep us safe. God bless all, and hopefully this will soon come to an end. Years from now we’ll have a story to tell our children and our grandchildren about the flood of 2011.