The River Will Do What The River Will Do

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“The river will do what the river will do. It pays us no mind as it travels it’s own way. It chooses it’s path oblivious to man.” 

That thought ran through my head today as we shoveled, scraped and hosed the malodorous deposits of mud left upon my home on the Amite River. The Great Flood of 2016 was truly a freak of nature. Unrelenting in its intensity and unprecedented in its scope, the rains have inundated over 100,000 homes in the greater Baton Rouge, Louisiana area. 

The majority of that rainwater drained to the Amite River. On it’s banks stands the place I call home. Though the water level has dropped dramatically since it’s record crest, this river continues to do what the river will do. 

There are 10 houses just up my street which grow more endangered with each passing day. All located on the outside of a once gentle curve in the usually lazy waterway and built well back from it’s bank, they now teeter on the water’s edge. 

As the flooding river swelled in size and swung wide around the bend, their boat sheds, piers and bulkheads were swept away, leaving their home’s foundations at the mercy of the relentless current. Even though the Amite River has now dropped below flood stage, the forces beneath it’s surface continue to tunnel beneath their homes. Another four feet were swept away today. 

This flood has seen the water go places we never thought it would. We wait as it recedes, to see what’s left, to clean up, to rebuild, to move on. Louisianans are experienced with this sort of thing, especially those of us who live along the river. But when the river does not recede, pushing it’s waters into places it previously did not travel, we know it’s path has shifted. This week, the Amite River has shifted to a path beneath my friends and neighbors homes. It’s not going back on it’s own. 

Not only are these homes now left unsafe for occupancy, they pose a continued danger to the families and homes adjacent and downstream should they collapse into the river. 

We were able to reach our State Representative Clay Schexnader today. He will be visiting our neighborhood tomorrow to assess the situation. My hope is he may be able to garner the resources of the Corp of Engineers, hydrologists from LSU, … someone…. anyone … with the expertise to advise us on how to proceed without further loss of property or even lives. 

We are a small, secluded neighborhood near French Settlement. We take care of ourselves and each other. This is simply beyond our means. We need our government officials to understand our homes and our neighborhood are in imminent danger. I ask you to please share this post and to ask your friends and families to do the same. Thank you.

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