Day 3 – Can You Find Me a Boat?

This post is a continuation of our experiences during the flood of 2016 in Louisiana.

Day 3 – Monday, August 15, 2016

Henry and Haigan woke early this morning to attempt to meet a friend of a family member who had a boat.  By the time they reached the interstate, the water had receded from the ramps and they were able to drive a short distance toward our neighborhood.

This day was so strange.  They got into the boat on Oneal Lane.  Getting into a boat and riding down the highway just seems unreal.   The water was receding so fast that many boats ran aground before returning to their entry points.


Henry describes the entire event as “eerie.” While on the way, they saw an alligator in the neighborhood.  Knowing this caused me to doubt that my poor Cry-baby kitty would ever survive.  Below are some of the pictures that they took as they maneuvered around mailboxes and moved through our neighborhood.


The boat pulled right up into our carport.  You can check out the water line on the house to see the actual height of the water.  Yikes!



The gentleman with the boat was so nice to allow them to have time to check on our cats.  As expected, they were scared and out of water.   Sven and Emma, our indoor cats, were nowhere to be seen upstairs in Haigan’s room.  The kittens were so happy to see their people.


They also filled trash bags with those precious beanie boos.  Yes, of all things…..they loaded up a boat full of stuffed animals!!

They took a few pictures to show me the condition of the house.    The water was receding quickly.  It left behind a yucky, slick film on everything four feet and below.   Even after seeing those pictures, I really couldn’t imagine what it would really be like when I went “home.”

The entertainment center was now in the center of the room and the couch had taken its place.  Our television was under the couch.  I imagine this to have been just a floating whirlpool of furniture that came to rest this way.  Even now, I would love to get that blanket and snuggle up on my couch as I had just three nights prior to this mess.


The girls’ bedrooms were some of the worst areas.  This one especially.  This is a picture that she will never see of her room and her sweet things.  Her headboard was an antique mantle that you can see propped onto her bed.  Her beloved Buddy did wait on the bed after all.


The twins’ beds had floated away from the walls and landed toward the middle.


Our dresser, which was very heavy, had floated and landed sideways.  Our mattress had obviously floated and did not land back on the box spring correctly.

The rocker makes me sad.  So many nights were spent rocking babies there.  I will replace it with another but it won’t feel the same.


Every kitchen drawer was filled with water and the pantry was a disaster.


It still amazes me that the water was so powerful.

They returned back to Holton’s with two large black bags filled with wet stuffed animals.  Thankfully, Holton’s washer and dryer had a sanitize cycle.  For the next 24 hours, the girls would run and giggle to the laundry room when the machines “sang” that another load was done.  It was so, so sweet.

It was only a few loads into this routine that they started to notice that some were missing.   “Frights, my kitty cat.  Moma, where is he?” asked Amelia.  I left him on my bed right beside my pillow.  “Where is Gallops?”  He was there, too.

They had no idea that nothing was where they left it.

My new mission was to ask about their special things until each one was recovered.  But that needed to happen quickly.  This water wasn’t a leaky pipe.  It was filled with sewage, bacteria and fungus.

Coming up….We wade back to a mess!




Day 2 – We Watch and Wait

Day Two – continuation of our experience in the flood of 2016.

We woke to a homemade breakfast by my oldest son, Holton.  The girls were still excited to be having a sleepover with Bubba.

He had gotten a few new toys for the girls.  They were content for a little while that morning but quickly started asking when we could go home.  They almost seemed shocked when I told them that we wouldn’t be going back ‘today.’  My eight year old saw a picture of cookies that she wanted us to bake and asked me if we could go home to make them.  Those were hard no’s to give.

During the day, we sat glued to the television, hoping to get a glimpse of what was happening across town at home.  We also kept an eye on the lake behind my son’s house.  It was steadily creeping toward his back door and never far from my mind.

This included watching for numbers and times of when the rivers and bayous might crest.


As we saw news footage such as this one below, it began to sink in that this was more than we could have imagined.  This picture shows the on and off ramps of our exit being used to launch boats.


Even looking at the picture now brings such anxiety.

Fear began to set in about our cats that we had left upstairs.  I saw pictures of the nearby town of Denham Springs, where some houses were flooded into the attic.  Facebook was filling with posts for help.  Many had lost phone service and were trapped in their homes, which were now their own island in the murky water.  Terrifying to read.

Click to enlarge

Henry and I were determined to hide our fear from the girls.  It was too much for us, so I can’t imagine what a child would feel. We saw news footage of children leaving in boats, ice coolers, parent’s arms high over head and counted our blessings that ours had been shielded from most of the reality of this.  Poor babies everywhere.

Meanwhile, we tried to enjoy our time together.  There’s something so comforting about how families come together during crisis.  I can definitely tell you that we were all one team that night, all huddled up on the couches watching the news.  If there was one good thing about this situation, it was that we were all together for the longest that we had been in a while.


I tried very hard to think on scriptures which could help.  Worry could easily overtake me within minutes.  As I type this, I can still feel my heart tremble a little when I remember the fear of that day.

My worries were not really about MY material possessions.  I was haunted because I had made the the girls leave the majority of their most prized possessions, their beanie boos, on their beds.  These were the things they needed to help them to feel normal and I was so, so sad that I had made that decision.  It was out of necessity but I was still so heartbroken for what might become of them.  I also knew that the amount of water that had been left for the cats would not be sufficient for very much longer.  Many prayers were said.

Henry knew that I was getting more anxious by the hour.  He and Haigan decided to see if they could get close to the interstate to find a helping hand to get into the neighborhood.  They did get several miles from our home but the boats were being used for rescuing trapped people, so it wasn’t right to ask to go back into an area that many were just now escaping.

We began sending out pleas through social media to use a boat to return to our house.  Hours later, my sister-in-law found a friend who agreed to meet my husband and son early the next day.

I slept a little easier knowing that we could get some updates the next morning.

To be continued…




Our House is Flooding

I know that we often hear the phrase, “On this day, my life changed forever.”

It sounds cliché’ and somewhat hollow from the outside looking in.  I know. I’ve read that statement before and have not been very moved.

But when it’s your life and it’s your day…….the story is different.

On August 13, 2016, my life was forever changed.

It was a Saturday.  My husband got up early but I slept until around 8:15. At some point during the early morning hours, my phone had buzzed with a flood warning.  I read it with sleepy eyes, heard the rain, and rolled over.

Around 8:30, I took the following pictures.  In the eight years that we have lived in this house, we had never seen water come under our fence.  Little did we know that behind the fence, on a street that was slightly lower, it was already looking alarming.  I even captioned the pictures “No swinging  today.”


Still not stressed.

Within 30 minutes the water had covered my carport area and was quickly rising on our “little house” out back.


At 9:30, the water started rushing up the drive.  I sent this video to  my dad.

He immediately noticed the direction that the water was FLOWING and quickly replied that it was going to get worse and we needed to move cars.  I woke my teenager and gave him a brief “getting a lot of water” run down and he and my husband moved the cars to the street.  At this point, you could still see grass on the side of the street. Cars were safe.

I’m starting to get a little antsy now and I find our outside kitty and put her in our classroom. Our classroom is a little lower than the rest of the house.  Because we have inside cats, it is the one place that she will stay without fussing.  At the same time, I’m using my best calm voice to tell the girls to get two suits of clothes and put them on my bed.  I told them that we were going to see Grandpa for a day or two.

10:00 am – We realize that the water is coming quickly.  The green grass that we saw beside our vehicles is gone. My husband wants me to take the kids and go so that he can stay behind and try to save some of our things.  I have a little meltdown.  He decides that he will go with us.


Haigan totes his guitar overhead to his jeep.

I go into the classroom to get our kitty.  The floor is floating and she is in the windowsill.

The house is flooding!  As crazy as it may be, this is the first moment that I thought it would really flood!  Where did I think the water was going to go?  I do not know.

The girls come down the hallway with about 30 stuffed animals each.  I tell them that they can take two…and to hurry.  I advise them to put the others on their beds where “they’ll be safe.”

As a collective family effort, we put  six out of seven of our cats upstairs with food, a litter box, and some water.  Cry-baby, our outside wanderer, could not be found.  There was no time to worry over that.  I was rushing to fill up the water container and didn’t get it completely full.  My son tells me it’s not enough. I rush him to put it upstairs anyway.  That decision will haunt me for the next three days.

10:20 – We get to the front door.  Everyone grabs whatever shoes they can find.  My husband and son lift the girls onto their shoulders and wade through waist deep water in the front yard to get them to the vehicles.

I follow and I’m just in shock. Our shoes from our back deck are floating down the drive.  Ant beds float past in huge clusters.  Roaches and spiders have nowhere to go and are frantically climbing up anything dry.

It’s like a movie except the water is soaking my shorts this time.  The things that are floating away belong to me.

We take 2 out of 3 vehicles because I am too afraid to drive.  We let the window down to tell our neighbor that we are leaving but we don’t know exactly what we should do.  She just stands frozen holding her hands on her head.  Later I found out that her husband had gone to try to get sandbags.  She, being at home, knew it was much too late for that.

We reach the four way stop at the end of our street and realize that the bridge to the back of the neighborhood is covered. The people who are still there have no way out.  The family that wants to get to them has no way in.

My son and I stop to get gas.  My oldest son calls to tell me not to get on the interstate.  It is about to be closed.  The river has flooded it and we will be stuck.  He arrives to the gas station and takes my husband back to get our third vehicle.  The water is rising faster and faster.  Here is a picture they snapped as they were leaving.  Little did we know, the worst was yet to come.




We go to my son’s house, only 25 minutes and a whole world away.  It was amazing to see that life was moving at a normal pace just a few miles from the rising river.

We stop at ChickfilA to get lunch.  We go to WalMart so that I can get some groceries to cook food.  It’s like a little family reunion.   Never in my mind did I believe that we wouldn’t be returning home soon.

We stay glued to the television, hoping  to get a glimpse of our neighborhood.

The girls fall asleep, excited for new pajamas and a sleepover at Bubba’s.

My husband and I are in the next room staring at the ceiling……the hugeness of this situation heavy on our hearts.

To be continued…..