A Flood of Tears
A Flood of Tears by Reva Moore
(BEFORE and AFTER pictures of our house. Before picture – JR and his Mom in front of our house)
We had miraculously escaped the raging waters of the Amite after getting stranded on Range Ave in Denham Springs. We had taken refuge at our friends’ (Joe and Mary) house that night only to be awakened by a knock on the door. The creek near their subdivision had overflowed, spilling into people’s yards and entering homes. Fear and panic ensued. Will it come inside our friends’ house? By mid-afternoon, the water was at the threshold. At one time, we saw it recede; we had a ray of hope. But then the water came back. Joe broke down in tears. Imagine working all your life only to lose your beautiful home in a matter of hours.
When the floodwaters began to rise, residents fleeing to safety left with little more than the clothes on their backs. Many, with pets and children and sick relatives – were left stranded, waiting for rescue. Many who never anticipated the floodwaters to reach their homes, had to wait in waist or chest-deep water at midnight but rescue didn’t come until dawn. That night and the following days, around 20,000 people were rescued. Louisiana, known as Sportsman’s Paradise, has many residents who own boats. People in boats came in full force. Volunteers called the “Cajun Navy” had hundreds of boats in the water in a matter of hours. Locals were helping and rescuing people from their homes, even from rooftops.
People were taking care of loved ones. People were taking care of strangers. (Strangers offered us to stay in their home on the third night).
On day four, the water had abated and we were able to go back to our homes to check the flood damages. I didn’t want to go. My husband JR went by himself. Later he told me that he couldn’t help from crying. Things he had kept all his life are gone. I am sure this scenario was repeated thousands of times that day and the following days after the flood. Everywhere we went, we heard people say: “We lost everything!” Around 150,000 homes flooded in South Louisiana. And, at this time, hundreds of flood victims are still in shelters. Some are living in tents. An elderly woman slept in her yard with her dog until help came. We saw 3 helicopter rescues because the only road to the subdivision where we stayed was impassable.
My family and friends think I am strong. But no one is strong in a situation like this. I did not cry upon seeing our home after 7 feet of water destroyed it. I cried upon seeing the magnitude of work to clean it up. I’d wake up at night hoping it’s just a nightmare. But it’s real. I try to look strong but I cry when I am alone.
Soon, almost every house in our subdivision had been gutted. But not ours. Last week, we hired a crew to do the work. After 3 days of back-breaking work, the gutting was done. Our things (clothing, shoes, dishes, etc.) are strewn all over the yard, patio and garage. Our clothes are hanging under trees.
Today, we went back to our flooded home. We’ve been sick due to the mold and heat and taking antibiotics. We are exhausted mentally and physically. We couldn’t do any more work. The mud and debris inside have started to dry up. We had planned to hire people to do the clean up. But God was about to surprise us. We were ready to leave when JR suggested that I take some of my shoes that had been drying up on the driveway. As I was picking up my shoes, a woman came and asked if she could borrow a broom. Then she asked, “Do you all need help?”
In a matter of minutes, the woman was back with 7 other people. They were the “Mormon Helping Hands.” I couldn’t believe it! These wonderful people were soon shoveling mud, taking out sheetrock and baseboards that were left by the gutters. I couldn’t help but shed tears of joys. We couldn’t do the clean up job because we got sick. I did not cry when I lost our home. I cried again because wonderful people came to do the work for FREE!
Amazing, too, because we had always welcomed the Mormon missionaries who come to our door. We had made friends with some of them. We had asked them to our home for supper. And they came almost everyday. They are like family to us. One of our Mormon friends sent us a CARE package when they heard that our house was flooded. We had helped Mormon young men in the past and now, these wonderful Mormons came to help us! How awesome is that?
And as we watched them clean our house today, we praised God for them. Flood of tears (of joy and gratitude) flowed as I thanked them. Indeed, God is so good!