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 23, 2011

2011 High Water – Thirteen

Today is the last day we can stay here at home for some undetermined time. The mandatory evacuation notices were delivered to each house this morning by the sheriff’s personnel. I don’t think there can be more than six or seven houses still occupied now. It is strange to see so many vacant places where there is usually a bustling energy. Odd. I asked Carolyn tonight why she thought we were still here when almost everyone else has been gone for a week or more. She didn’t have an answer, except that it didn’t feel right to leave unless it was absolutely necessary. We thought we could stay until either the electricity was turned off or the water prevented access to our house. Neither of these things is the cause of our leaving. Instead, because there is part of the Butte La Rose road that is low and nearly at the same elevation as the swamp floor, that road is about to become submerged. Access to those houses along that road will become questionable soon, and because of that the whole road will be shut down, the high road where we live and the low too. It is a pity, but understandable in a way. How long we will be gone will depend on how long it takes the “back flooding” to come to a crest and then drain off so that the low portions of the road become passable again. At least that is the prediction that makes sense.

Starting to see a few snakes. Saw one water snake today, and one land snake (racer). Both were swimming. The racer’s being in the water would indicate that the habitat is becoming undesirable for it, and higher ground is being sought. Wish we could be here to see the rest of the adjustments that the fauna will be making. Those white ibises are having such a profitable time gleaning the things that come up out of the grass as the water slowly rises up the lawn. They are coming to terms with the high water in an easy way.

The water is coming up the yard more and more. Today it is filling the swale between the low hills that make up the river bank. It will cover the walkway before it is through rising. The shallow pool seems to appeal to the breeding frogs and toads. Gulf coast toads, green tree frogs and gray tree frogs lost no time in setting up territories in the pond and began calling for available females to come and enjoy the water. Little do the ladies suspect that they will be ambushed when they come within range, and little frogs will be made.

So we leave tomorrow. It is not a good feeling. But the house should be safe from the water, and hopefully the sheriff’s patrols will make sure that the property is safe from other kinds of intrusion.

The river is at 22.5 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge, rising to 24.5 feet on the 27th, Friday. It will flatten out after that and begin to start considering a withdrawal back into its usual containment. How long that takes will determine how long we have to stay away. The Mississippi and the Ohio are falling hard all the way up, as though to admit exhaustion after such a display of strength.

Rise and Shine, Jim


Blogger shoreacres said...

My best to you. We'll hope for a relatively quick river fall and an early return.

May 24, 2011 7:51 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Very well written Jim, keep posting, and will pray the river doesn't get in house.

June 02, 2011 9:44 AM  
Blogger Mike said...


June 02, 2011 9:45 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home