This blog originates on the banks of the Atchafalaya River, in Louisiana. It proposes to share the things that happen on and by the river as the seasons progress. As the river changes from quiet, warm, slow flow to rises of eighteen feet or more, there are changes in the lives of the birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles that use the river. And the mood of the river changes with the seasons. I propose to note and comment on these things.

My Photo
Location: Butte La Rose, Louisiana, United States

I transitioned a few years ago from a career as a water-pollution control biologist. I want to do this blog to stay in touch with a world outside my everyday surroundings, whatever they may be. I like open-minded company and the discussion of ideas. Photo by Brad Moon.

Monday, May 09, 2011

2011 High Water – One

They say the water is coming. They say it will be very high this year because the rains in the Midwest have been unusually heavy, and frequent. They have exploded the levees in Missouri to save Cairo from drowning. They say for us to prepare for the worst flooding since 1973, or even 1927.

It is hard to look out over our back yard and imagine that what they predict will happen. It looks so peaceful, and usual, with the grass and the newly filled depressions. We should be heading into the time of falling water and hot summer days. You can see the water back there, well within the riverbed. But it has been rising, and for the last several days it has come up about six inches a day. It is now at 18 feet. At that rate of rise we might have 27 feet by the 25th, the day they say the crest will be here. Our yard will not look like it does now, then.

Today I went to visit some neighbors to just make sure that other people are having to think about the same things I am. It was comforting to hear them worry too. So today I and two friends began to do the preparations that you can do to get ready for the flood. You can only prepare for the conditions predicted by others, and in our case those conditions predict two or three feet of water over our whole yard, lasting for more than a week before it begins to recede. What can you do? The outbuildings we have, a shop and a garage and a boathouse, all of which are on slabs, are now free of any object resting on the ground. Everything is piled as high as possible and I’ll probably never find things I knew well before today. We filled my truck with all the power tools in the shop and moved them to a friends house, along with a freezer containing animals to be prepared for my bone collection. All the driftwood has been secured onto the back porch, and the firewood being collected for next winter is on the front porch. The cats are very confused.

The house will be dealt with next. I sure would like to believe the water won’t get high enough to flood the house, but I’m not sure I do.

Sometime in the next few days we will have to leave our property. We are told the road will flood and people will not be able to return home until the water recedes. Only then can we begin to deal with the damage the water will have done, whatever that is.

The river is at 18 feet now on the Butte La Rose gauge. It is rising and will continue to rise for some weeks, perhaps. The Mississippi is charging south with an energy that reminds us that there is a reason to pay attention, always.

Rise and Shine, Jim


Blogger katherine said...

I thought of you all when I heard Morganza will be opened. I hope all of you and your home stay safe.

May 09, 2011 10:12 PM  
Blogger jim said...

We will be, not so sure about the house. You do what you can.
Thanks for the comment Katherine.

May 09, 2011 10:49 PM  
Blogger ramprat said...

Those of us who are not there in person can only feel the pain in our hearts with you and everyone on the bayou. My mother was a daughter of New Orleans in the 20's. She instilled a love of the state in us. Our prayers from the Chesapeake Bay to all of you.


May 13, 2011 7:30 PM  
Blogger jim said...

Thanks John. Eat some Chesapeake crabs for us when you get a chance.

May 13, 2011 11:19 PM  
Blogger Sally Vidalin said...

Hope your home stays dry.

May 14, 2011 8:31 AM  
Blogger TNGRULES said...

Hi Jim,

I will be saying my prayers for you and your fellow Louisianaians. My wife and I lived in Lafayette in the 1970s when we attended University of Southwestern Louisiana. We loved the area.


May 14, 2011 10:31 AM  
Blogger Make a Roux said...

As a fellow Louisianian from Cajun Country, my heart is breaking for everyone facing the coming flood, and for the beauty that is the Atchafalaya basin. Please stay safe, everyone.

May 14, 2011 11:07 AM  
Blogger MJ said...

I just wanted to say "bless you all" as you prepare and encounter this flood heading your way... I was married to a Mississippi boy and we knew a lot of Louisiana folk that are wonderful, honest, hardworking people and I hate for you all to have to face this floating disaster. By the way - do you know a Bob Romero (he used to work for Amoco/BP) He worked with my husband... Nice guy!! Good luck to you all!!

May 14, 2011 4:44 PM  
Blogger Stasey said...

This leaves me teary-eyed. I am just thankful we had some kind of notice, but it doesn't lessen the pain for those whose camps -- and lives -- are now 18 feet under water.

May 15, 2011 2:21 PM  

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