• 30°

Business continues as floodwaters reach third-highest crest

 

VIDALIA — Even though one could hear the sound of the waves lapping, Monday afternoon was no day at the beach at Vidalia Dock & Storage.

As the Mississippi River crested at approximately 57.83 feet on the Natchez gauge, waves from passing barges crashed underneath the office that is built up on piers.

Except for a small raised path built out of crushed gravel, floodwaters surrounded the office on the Vidalia Riverfront.

Monday’s crest was just shy of the projected 58 feet and is the third-highest flood recorded on the Natchez gauge.

“We are still open,” vice president Sarah Calhoun said, even though the bathroom facilities and hot water have been cut off.

Restroom facilities are available a short walk away at another building on the site.

From inside the building workers can hear the water lapping just inches below the floor joists.

Even still, conditions are much better than 2011 when floodwaters rose 6 inches to a foot higher than the floor. At 61.95 feet, the May 2011 flood was the highest flood on record.

“Four days before the water crested, I opened the front door and the floor was buckled,” Owner Carla Jenkins said. “There was a baby bass swimming in my office.”

Thankfully, this year workers have a  dry place from which to work, despite the ever-present sound of water flowing under the building.

“With the water lapping, no bathroom and no hot water, it makes for a miserable day,” Jenkins said. “But we are still open.”

The floodwaters that cover most of the property haven’t kept two of three businesses from being open, Jenkins said. Towing services have dropped to almost nothing, but the dry-dock repair service and the gravel and crushed limestone service continues, Jenkins said.

Fifth Louisiana Levee District Board member Barry Maxwell said Monday’s crest did not pose any major additional problems for the levee district.

“We had a few more sand boils here and there but that’s typical,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell said he anticipates the river will drop off soon.

“As far as I know everything is on schedule for it to start dropping,” Maxwell said. “It’s going to stay, at this level right now, and should start dropping a 10th to a half a foot a day.”

Guy Murray, director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for Concordia Parish, said the crest went pretty well from his perspective, too.

“I think it should be here three or four days,” Murray said, “then fall out a foot to a foot and a half a day.”

Calhoun said flooding has become too common for the area and she has an opinion as to why that is.

“People are not doing what they should be doing to control the water,” Calhoun said.

Calhoun said she wonders why the various control structures are not being better managed to control the flow of the water in order to accommodate the industries on the river.

“The second the water gets high in Baton Rouge, they say, ‘Uh oh,  we have to open the (Bonnet Carré) Spillway. Instead you have already flooded out 10 river towns on the way down.”

Jenkins agrees and said she hopes something can be done to help lessen future floods.

Jenkins said flooding used to be a rarity along the riverfront, so much so that she could remember specific floods before the last 10 years.

“Now there have been so many of them, I have to sit down to think what years we didn’t have a flood,” Jenkins said.

News

Natchez mayor elaborates on Christmas parade COVID-19 plans

News

Mississippi reports record number of virus hospitalizations

News

Vidalia pastor sets up GoFundMe account for niece who lost 3 children in Thanksgiving fire

News

Adams County records another COVID-19 death

News

Kyzar blends work, home life

News

Rep. Sam C. Mims, V, Awarded State Legislator of the Year by Rural Health Association

DEVELOPING NEWS

Natchez mayor announces change in Christmas parade plans after COVID-19 numbers spike

News

Bird’s-eye view: Artist with Natchez roots gives creations new perspective

News

Hundreds turnout for Natchez Christmas tree lighting Saturday night

BREAKING NEWS

Natchez-Adams schools to continue virtual learning only through December

News

E-911: Seconds can seem like minutes in emergencies (with audio)

COVID-19

Hospital CEO tests positive for COVID-19 as local cases rise

BREAKING NEWS

Flash flood warning issued for parts of Natchez

News

Hospitals using antibody therapy to help fight virus

News

Stewpot serves 300 Thanksgiving meals thanks to generous donations

News

Trash collection one day behind schedule for Thanksgiving

News

Ferriday man sentenced to life for 2019 slaying of Natchez schoolteacher

Business

Mayor: Silver Street raising and dock plans moving forward

News

Tree lighting event is Saturday in Natchez

News

Former Natchez Alderman David Massey dies at 72

News

Stewpot ready to serve needy on Thanksgiving

News

Saturday high-speed chase began in Louisiana, ended with crash in Natchez

News

No print edition of The Democrat on Friday

News

Natchez school board cancels bid opening for new high school due to COVID-19