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Pearl River County Residents Digging Out from Isaac Flood Damage

By Rhonda Miller | Published 04 Sep 2012 01:26am | comments
The Westchester neighborhood in Pearl River County got some of the worst of Hurricane isaac's flooding. Many residents have to dump all their household belongings and start over.

Hurricane Isaac is gone, but he walloped some Pearl River County neighborhoods  with floodwaters days after the storm made landfall. MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports some Picayune families are now tearing out the insides of their waterlogged  homes and starting over.

In the small Westchester subdivision near Highway 43 North in Pearl River County, Joy Sill is surrounded by family members ripping out window sills, sheetrock and baseboards.

"The river started overflowing and it started flooding the entrnace of the subdivision and then it just started coming up from all around."

After 30 years in this house, this is the first time it’s flooded.  Sill may be a little tired, but she’s not discouraged.

"Just start from scratch and rebuild it, I guess."

State Senator Angela Hill represents Picayune and Pearl River County.  She says there’s  been record inland flooding from creeks that drain into the Pearl River.

"The city limits of Picayune is a place where you have a convergence of two branches of the Hobolochitto Creek. And when we have heavy rains these two creeks come together and come out of their  banks and go into residential neighborhoods."

That rising creek hit John Sparcello’s house hard.

"We sealed all the doors, but that didn't help. It started coming in."

He’s 80 years old and worked many disasters as a New Orleans firefighter for 40 years - but the floods after Isaac surprised him.

"The water, if you can see my fence over there, that white fence, it came up almost to the top of that fence. And when I left here, it was over the top of the fence. The National Guard had to take us out."

Around the corner, Charlie Ortego is still mopping up water.  She finds it ironic that she came from Seattle to Mississippi as a volunteer during Hurricane Katrina.

"And I fell in love with the place, moved here, and little did I know that I was going to be on the flip side of the coin seven years later, but that’s OK. We’re starting a new chapter."

As her stepson and brother walk across soggy carpets carrying a ruined mattress to the curb, Ortego echoes what many in this community say - she can handle the loss of “stuff.”

"All I had to do is count my brother, my husband, by stepson and me. We were here. It’s good. The dogs are safe also." 

She does not have insurance.  She will be among many Mississippians checking into FEMA disaster assistance to hold them over until they can get back into a place they can call home.







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