Memories of high water from Lower St. Martin
Linda Cook: Playing pool while the clothes dry
Belle River — In the flood of 1973-74, we were living on our houseboat on Belle River (same location as now) and the building you see is the shop in which my husband, Pete, ran a small repair business.
For lack of space on our houseboat, my washing machine and dryer were under the tin roof of the shop. As the water rose we hoisted both machines up with pulleys, put them in the boat and carried them across Belle River to the Live Oak Inn bar (now gone), which was on much higher ground.
Since other people also had problems like us, anyone who wanted to use the machines was welcome to do so. There were no phone lines on our side of the river yet, so the bar owner would blow an old trumpet when the washer and/or dryer were not in use and I would drive a boat across to have my turn.
While the clothes washed and dried, I played pool in the back room.
In l991 or l992, we had just built a house on land at the same place as in l973, and we had levees around the property and sand bags and electric sump pumps going all day and night. But when the power failed the water just poured in and everything flooded.
The gas-powered jigger pump kept getting clogged with eels and crawfish and couldn’t keep up. We hung the freezer up with ropes and kept it plugged in.
Our big garden drowned. I paddled back and forth in a boat.
After this we saved and saved and raised the level of our yard by as much as four feet. No more flooding!
Leroy Gros: Fording the flood with school kids
Four-Mile Bayou — l992 was the bad one for us. The road was under about a foot of water but going slow with trucks we could just tell where the road was and could get the kids to school. I had pumps going to protect seven houses. I had my outboard business then and it was sandbagged so I could keep doing business.
Now there’s about a foot to go before the water comes over my seawall. We’re all built high so I don’t think we’ll have a problem unless we get heavy rains.
The road to Stephensville has water over it in a few places especially along the sides but not it’s not deep.
Charlotte Ratcliff: Childhood memories wiped out
Stephensville — The water is up in my backyard now just a little. I can remember l973, though, when we lived in a trailer across from the Stephensville school on the outside of the levee. The water was coming up and we evacuated.
When we came back, our entire trailer was under water. We lost every single thing we owned. I was about 10 years old and it was just awful.
It was after this that no one was allowed to live outside the levees anymore.
We lived in a rent trailer after we lost our home and then my folks built the brick house they live in now. I thought we were so rich to live in a brick house!
I have no baby pictures or anything from when I was little. Now I have thousands of pictures in plastic bins, all taped up. I’m not a materialistic person but my kids will have pictures for memories even if I don’t.
I was so glad the parish had that meeting (on April 2). There’s already a pile of sand in Four Mile Bayou, one by the Mosquito Bar and sandbags in the fire station.