Mississippi River Flood 2011 Delta Update plus Mr. April REDUX in May Video

Mr. April REDUX in May

Mr. April REDUX in May 2011 during the early stages of the Mississippi River Flood in Coahoma County near Clarksdale. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Mr. April REDUX in May 2011 during the early stages of the Mississippi River Flood in Coahoma County near Clarksdale. Photo by The Delta Bohemian


The Delta Bohemian does not intend this update on the Mississippi River Flood of 2011 to be inclusive, exhaustive, extensively empirically researched, or consisting of a summary of all that has transpired or will transpire concerning the river and those living near it or those affected by it. This update will include some information from secondary sources with links for those desiring more detailed and thorough reports on specific areas of import.

We have been blessed to have multitudinous first-time visitors light upon our site over the last few weeks, many which have been driven by Internet search engines tapping into our posts concerning the Mississippi River and its swollen, turbulent, and life-altering conditions. For those outside our local and geographic area, we strive to present some illumination that might be useful and informative.

[youtube width=”600″ height=”350″]https://youtu.be/6UDHACz5XCE[/youtube]

In the Delta Council‘s e-news email on May 18th, the following information was presented:

As floodwaters make their way south down the Mississippi River, the Flood of 2011 has left its mark along the way.  The Helena gauge crested at 56.48, Arkansas City at 53.06, and Greenville appears to have crested 64.24.  Vicksburg is near crest now and is projected to crest at 57.1 on the 19th. (1.1 ft over 1927 stage).  Although the Mississippi River has reached (or is nearing) crest elevations throughout the region known as the “Mississippi Delta”, the road ahead is still relatively long.

At the present, there is a tremendous volume of water flowing down the Mississippi River, approximately 2 million cubic feet per second.  Although that number is relatively hard to rationalize, analogies from swimming pools to the Super Dome have been employed.  2 million cubic feet per second (in a perhaps more locally relative figure) would fill up Lake Washington once every 6 minutes, or the Ross Barnett Reservoir once every 2 1/2 hours.  It will take time for this water to pass.  River stages are projected to hold at near crest elevations for 3-4 days before falling out slowly.  Again, to provide perspective, the Mississippi River at Vicksburg is projected to remain above 2008 flood levels for nearly 5 weeks.

This extended period of high water will continue to place a strain on the Mainline Mississippi River Levee.  Therefore, the Levee Boards will continue to keep traffic to a minimum until it is absolutely certain travel can be safely allowed.  Sand boils and seepage will likely remain a common occurrence throughout the coming weeks.  However, as it has been demonstrated the Levee Boards and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers are well equipped and very capable of handling these situations.

The economic disruption that has occurred due to the mainstem Mississippi River system is still ongoing. In addition to the loss and degradation of private property, homes, and both farm and timber land, the economic loss due to minimal port activities, inundated and/or stranded manufacturing and distribution facilities, and the loss of revenue and job interruption to the resorts in Tunica, Lula, Greenville, and Vicksburg located adjacent to the MS River. In Tunica, the first two resorts are scheduled to be opened today, but there will be a long period of time before full economic recovery in all of these sectors can be achieved.

Check the Delta Council’s website for constant updates at www.deltacouncil.org

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HUFFPOST GREEN’s (think Huffington Post) article, “Mississippi River Flooding: Two Towns, Divided By a River, With Drastically Different Fates,” (The Delta Bohemian loves the lengthy title) presented two Mississippi River towns–one in Louisiana, one in Mississippi–with two different most likely outcomes.

The article demonstrates how the Mississippi River affects each Delta town individually, and it concludes with a resident from the ill-fated side of the river saying, “You live on the river, you’re going to have good and bad with it,” he said. “Just like you play the stock market. Sometimes you lose your butt, sometimes you win some money.”

VIDALIA, LA. — Traffic has been swift for weeks along the majestic steel bridge that connects this low-lying river town to its sister city across the Mississippi River.

Moving vans filled with furniture, tractors and combines from cotton and corn fields, and truckloads of office supplies all head toward Natchez, Miss., the hilltop town less than a mile across the river that is quickly becoming an expatriate community for hundreds seeking higher ground.

As floodwaters and tensions rise in this scenic stretch of the Mississippi Valley, an informal exodus takes place in Vidalia, as neighborhoods empty and businesses relocate to higher ground on the opposite side of the river.

Call it a hardened sensibility to the powerful forces at play. Those who have lived along the river for generations are distinctly in tune with the rhythms of nature. And this year, nature said Vidalia should flee.

“She’s mean right now; she’s just treacherously mean,” said lifelong Vidalia resident Vicki Torrey, reflecting on the river. “And with our officials, I’m afraid. I’m afraid that Mother Nature is just gonna outwit them.”

Like many in Vidalia, Torrey essentially camps out in her home, after moving nearly every stick of furniture across the river to storage on higher ground. She and her husband still have their bed, refrigerator and two uncomfortable chairs.

Torrey’s dogs know something is awry, being without their usual beds for weeks now.
The migration across the Mississippi has happened during past floods, but never to the same extent as this year. Storage spaces in a 50-mile radius of Natchez are filled to the brim.

Short-term leases on apartments and houses on high ground have been popular, and the supply is dwindling.

“There’s a lot of ‘just in case’ preparation going on,” said Natchez real estate broker Glenn Green. “The supply has pretty much been used up. People are just asking favors of friends at this point.”
The differences in landscape between Natchez and Vidalia are the product of a geological anomaly along this stretch of the river that has played out over thousands of years.

Residents of Natchez sit high atop a bluff overlooking the river, the product of sand and clay deposits blown to this part of the country during the last ice age. Residents of Vidalia sit in a natural lowland floodplain, as the river meandered throughout time and flattened out the land. They have to walk up a levee to catch sight of the now-roiling body of water.

The differences could not be more striking during this year’s epic flooding. Most of the buildings in Natchez stand more than 250 feet above the already-high river, facing no risk.

The City of Vidalia, meanwhile, is in the midst of a two-week battle with the waters of the Mississippi, as officials try to protect a stretch of waterfront property that includes the town’s hospital, convention center and a riverfront hotel.

The businesses were technically built in a precarious spot, on the inside of the mainline Mississippi River levee system, as part of a local effort to encourage waterfront development.

Although many residents have questioned the prudence of building on that side of the levee, city officials said all the buildings were built above the flood levels specified by the federal government. This year’s flooding is unquestionably higher than that government standard.

“Everybody thinks because it’s on this side of the levee that we’re idiots,” said Guy Murray, the project manager for the city’s flood fight. “Every one of these buildings is built two feet above the 100-year flood level. It’s just a God-given deal that we’re seeing right now.”

With no federal levee to protect these structures from never-before-seen flooding, the city for weeks has built and maintained a series of makeshift barriers to keep the water out. All along the waterfront, enormous wire and steel-reinforced baskets filled with thousands of pounds of sand have been stacked up in an unprecedented man-versus-nature fight.

As of Tuesday, the convention center was essentially an island, surrounded on all sides by river water. Over the past few days officials have been fighting “sand boils” — essentially burps in the makeshift levee that allow river water to start seeping through. On Tuesday afternoon, bulldozers and cranes dropped 3,000-pound sandbags at the site of the leaks.

The main river levee, which sits behind the waterfront business district, still protects all the residents in town. But the city’s battle with the river serves as a constant reminder of the town’s vulnerability, many residents said.

William Coleman, who works for the City of Vidalia, has even moved his possessions across the river, splitting his things among relatives and a warehouse he rented.
Vidalia resident Calvin Creel has been living in a recreational vehicle in his son-in-law’s yard in Natchez. It’s stuffed with nearly all his belongings.

“You’re down in a bowl over there, surrounded by levees all around,” Creel said while sipping a Budweiser along the riverfront in Natchez, scanning what looked to be a submerged Vidalia waterfront. “I ain’t takin’ no chances; I’m too old.”

Residents who have remained in Vidalia noted an eerie silence in recent weeks.
Kevin Carlock said he’ll stay. His grandparents rode out the flood of 1927, often regaling him with stories of levee breaks and flooded fields.

But he’s ready for things to return to normal. “All of a sudden my neighborhood’s empty,” he said. “I have no one I can go over to and say, ‘Hey, I’m out of coffee.'”

Others, like Rusty Jenkins, displayed a sober realism about life in proximity to the Mississippi River. He’s a local attorney and owner of a port facility in Vidalia that’s already underwater. But he makes no apologies for deciding to take risks with nature.

“You live on the river, you’re going to have good and bad with it,” he said. “Just like you play the stock market. Sometimes you lose your butt, sometimes you win some money.”

RECAP: It is reported that approximately 2 million cubic feet of water per second is flowing down the Mississippi. What does that REALLY look like? Imagine this….the Mississippi River as it is flowing right now would fill the State of Mississippi’s Lake Washington (almost 7 miles long and 1/2 mile wide) ONCE EVERY 6 MINUTES, or the even larger Ross Barnett Reservoir (33,000 acre lake) ONCE EVERY 2 1/2 HOURS.

The Delta Bohemian wanted to offer up some mild comic relief with Mr. April REDUX in May during these sad and challenging times along our beloved Mississippi River. Our prayers are with our families, friends and the thousands we do not know who are experiencing the devastation as a result of this great flood. Joshua 1:9

Watch the video of Mr. April REDUX in May 2011!

Should you want to watch the original MR. April again, CLICK HERE.


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  1. Lord, what a sexy man.

  2. the music, who playing the song about a flood?

    • Jimbo….sorry so delayed in responding.
      The music is The Derek Trucks Band. Song “Down in the Flood”

      His band is NOW called The Tedeschi Trucks Band.

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