2017 hurricane season brings renewed fears for victims of August historic flooding

Flooding in Denham Springs
Flooding in Denham Springs
Flooding in Denham Springs
Flooding in Denham Springs

LOUISIANA (WAFB) - In August 2016, Louisiana went through a record flood event. The beginning of the 2017 hurricane season brings with it renewed anxiety from many in south Louisiana.

"Tropical Storm Allison was right about here," recalls Ron Taylor. "I think we got about 15 to 18 inches of rain but it was over a period of time and rivers really backed up."

Taylor and his family bounced back from that flood in 2001 and went through it again in 2008 with Gustav. Then, the mother of all floods hit last August. After a hurried evacuation from his Central home, it was nearly a week before he was able to return.

"Once we saw the house and the water line on the roof, we knew it was everything," he said.

Nine feet of water from the nearby Comite River swallowed everything they owned, other than the few things they crammed into their cars on the way out.

Just to the east in Denham Springs, as the waters rose, Jennifer Galloway and her husband had less than an hour to evacuate their family. That includes a teenage daughter and three young foster children.

"The kids didn't understand but we were just yelling at them, 'get it up!,'" she recalled. "I don't care, but every closet, every blanket, everything - if it's down low, pick it up or it's going to be ruined."

In the four nights that followed, Galloway would sleep in four different spots, including her car, as floodwaters chased the family from place to place. The family would finally land in Hammond on Monday night, where her son, Dalton, was getting ready to deploy to Kuwait.

"I would say it's probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do," she said. "Not only did you lose a lot of things in your house, he lost his stuff because he had just stored all of his stuff here. So a lot of things got ruined. Then we see a lot of our family members lose their stuff. And at the same time, you know, I have to say goodbye for nine months."

Galloway and her family had a similar amount of water enter their home with Hurricane Isaac in 2012. Her property, though, is listed in a low risk flood zone and she seemingly did everything right when buying the home.

"One of my questions to the previous owners was, 'does this house flood?' And they said 'no.' And on the paperwork it says, 'don't know.' And we found out later it had flooded before," she explained.

In Central, Taylor knew there was a risk living so close to the Comite, but unfulfilled promises of a Comite Diversion Canal and the severity of the August flood forced his family to move elsewhere in Central.

But a new house doesn't make a home. One of his biggest losses - his dream workshop he had recently completed that was filled with tools given to him by his grandfather.

"It was about these tools and about the memories that I have with my grandfather," he said. "Every time I went to build something or put something together, I envisioned what he was doing with it and how he would make it. He did teach me a lot of his ways of building things and so I hope to carry that on, so I'm going to have to start over."

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