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.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

2011 High Water – Six

Now we wait. All the boxes have been packed and moved out of danger from flooding. All of the things in the yard have been picked up and placed high enough to avoid floating away, we hope. All the firewood for next winter is on the front porch. The house now looks like it has been furnished for people eight feet tall, with the furniture up on blocks. So now we wait. We are very lucky, and grateful to those keeping an eye on the river, for the extended warning we have had. I think we will be here until we are forced to leave.

The Morganza water should be getting to us as I write this. It will not come in a big wave, but more like a rise of about one foot a day for the next week or more. A stick marked in six-inch intervals will help keep at least a small feeling of participation in this otherwise passive role we humans have, at least it’s passive once you have done all you can do. So we wait.

We still do daily maintenance on the floating dock, loosening ropes and pulling away debris that floats down and jams against the front. Enough of that can eventually overstrain the ropes sending the dock on a ride downriver. Not much of a problem so far. Note the two white ibises flying upriver in the picture. There are ibises, herons and egrets scouring the banks all along the yards fronting the river. Where there was dry lawn last week, there is water-covered feeding grounds for them now.

There is a constant stream of trucks and trailers on Louisiana Highway 3177 today, even more than in the previous several days. I guess the word is out there that this water is really coming. Some of those big “motor homes” are being hauled away from Butte La Rose. A few of them actually sag at each end. The axels are in the middle, more or less, and the ends droop, but off they go down the highway toward some form of safety. Some don’t look like they will be doing much more of this, like an old horse that would prefer an nice pasture and a warm place to sleep, and less time on the road.

So far there has been very little evidence of wildlife disruptions. Already the water has flooded areas of our yard that housed underground facilities for possums, coons, armadillos, rabbits and several kinds of rats and mice. No evidence of them. Where might they have gone? I fully expect to see some evacuees on our porches at some point. They are all welcome, although I might discourage the water moccasins from feeling too secure.

The river is at 20.6 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge. There has been a difference in what is predicted to be the top level of rise. But you don’t know whether the change is the most factual or the usual rumor. We hope the latest prediction is justified.

Rise and Shine, Jim


Blogger mkircus said...

I just found all your posts when I was catching up on the blogs I follow. I've been anxiously following the flood news but to know that thousands of people are experiencing what you are just breaks my heart. All of you are in my prayers.

May 15, 2011 7:47 PM  
Blogger shoreacres said...

I've been writing a bit about the assorted floods that have come down the Mississippi, and in my current post quoted your fine line to the effect that sometimes it's "“best to let it go, and start over when this statement by the river has been made.”

I'm in Texas, and have the the pleasure of meeting Ike, Rita and Alicia. I meet Allison, too, and of course she was essentially flood. I thought I understood a flood: water up, water down, dry out. I didn't know a thing about mud, critters, mold, filth. I learned.

I've come to love so much of your area - Lake Martin, Breaux Bridge, the towns of the Teche, Bayou Dularge, the swamps, Whiskey River Landing. So many fine memories have been made there, and I trust in the future all of us will have opportunity to do so again.

Many, many people you'll never know are wishing only the best for you, your neighbors and town, and the state as a whole. A blog is a fine way to say so.

May 15, 2011 9:21 PM  
Blogger MrktMind said...

Following your blog from Ohio. Kind of strange to think that all of that water we had as rain here is now going to flood your back yard. Your blog also puts a much more personal angle on the flood news.

Just curious - that's an awful nice bed are you sure the cement blocks will be tall enough?

May 15, 2011 9:30 PM  
Blogger jim said...

All the above comments are very much appreciated. Who knew that a blog mostly written for my grandchildren would also appeal to so many other wonderful people. Thanks.

May 15, 2011 9:54 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

I am following your blog in California. I love your area of the world and am hoping for the best for you. Your writing is like poetry.

May 16, 2011 10:15 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Hi Jim - Just wanted to write to say that you and Carolyn are in my thoughts. It brings sadness to my heart to think your beautiful home is expecting flood waters to rise enough to impact the house. But I'm uplifted by the posts about how friends and family have helped you to prepare, as best as possible. While the waters rise, remember this too shall pass. In time, you will be back to enjoying the more gracious nature experiences that river life brings to you and yours. All the best from Maryland - Linda W.

May 16, 2011 5:26 PM  
Blogger jim said...

To those in California and Maryland who follow our current events,thank you for the kind words. Good to hear from you Linda.

May 16, 2011 9:39 PM  

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