Homeowners, businesses in Clinton begin cleanup day after flash floods

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

CLINTON, LA (WAFB) - The City of Clinton is deep in cleanup efforts as homeowners and businesses alike dealing with the aftermath of strong storms that drenched the area overnight Saturday.

Folks in the Rileyville neighborhood are attempting to repair their lives now after most of the area was underwater Sunday afternoon. Many of them got the first look at the damage inside their homes as they began the process.

Crews were busy Monday morning working on the road, while residents were choosing to check in. Many say they have only seen flooding this bad twice, once last August and then Sunday morning.

"Man it just, you know, we ain't never seen anything like this," said James Blunt. "We're still having nightmares from last year you know what I'm saying."

Blunt's home did not flood, but says he spent the morning doing yard work and helping others where he could. He considers himself one of the lucky ones. WAFB's Scottie Hunter asked Blunt if he was thankful for being spared by the flood waters, considering it could have been much worse.

"Yeah I'm thankful you know," Blunt responded. "It wasn't me, but everybody else, you know what I'm saying, so once somebody's telling you to get out, you know, you just got to do the right thing."

For many, flooding has become a fear recently. Charles London has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years and says it's like living flood to flood lately. "The last time was last year when we got that water, but I've seen it several times since I've been here," said London.

While he normally prepares for the worst, this time, London says it's not quite as bad. He did get water in his living room, but the bulk of the damage was to the foundation of his mobile home. It's something he estimates could cost thousands of dollars to fix.

"It's mostly structural damage," London added. "I'll have to go back and redo all my blocks and foundation again and that's going to cost a lot of money."

For now, he is choosing to put one foot in front of the other. He says it's the only way he and others in the area will get through this most recent round of rain. "We're just trying to get things back together and just living life you know," said London. "We're just trying to keep going."

It's not just homeowners in the midst of cleanup. Community organizations are also dealing with the aftermath of Sunday's flooding. Surprisingly, managers at one of the facilities that flooded Sunday say it was worse than last August.

To say the Quad Area Community Agency off Highway 67 in Clinton is trashed is an understatement because standing water has consumed just about every inch of the building. Crews spent roughly 30 minutes pounding a hole in the brick and after some time, water finally escaped.

On the same property, folks at the East Feliciana Drug and Alcohol Awareness Council were busy dealing with water of their own. "Well it's devastating and heartbreaking," said facility chairman, Rickie Collins.

Collins helps the facility run smoothly and says when he heard the rain late Saturday night, he knew it would be bad, but admits he was not quite expecting the full extend of the damage.

He gave WAFB's Scottie Hunter a tour of the space and in each room, the condition was the same. It's the second time water has covered the building's floors in about 14 months. The last time water crept into the facility was during the August flood, but surprisingly, Sunday's round of rain dumped more flood water in the center than last year.

"It dumped a whole lot more water here," said Collins. "I've been living out in this area all my life and I've never seen the water this high in this location before."

Collins says the organization does a lot for the community, including keeping kids on the straight and narrow and bringing much needed events to the area. He says seeing the space in such disarray is discouraging, but not defeating.

WAFB's Scottie Hunter asked Collins where they will even begin with cleanup efforts. "Well, we just get in here and we start taking everything out and start getting water out and do what we have to do," he replied.

Just about everything in the building is sopping wet, but there is some good news. Most of the pamphlets and other resources the center uses are in a safe spot located on a high counter. Collins says unfortunately, they have had to deal with flooding so much that they have learned their lesson over the years and now make sure that those important items stay dry.

While it does look bad now, Collins says they have an obligation to the community and vows they will be back up and running as quickly as they can. "It doesn't stop us," Collins added. "We're here to stay."

Collins says he hopes to get the facility back to normal by the end of the year.

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