Eagle Lake residents grateful to Corps

Published 12:04 am Sunday, July 17, 2011

As an Eagle Lake resident for 39 years, I am writing in response to Martin Mendrop’s letter to the editor of July 13. Mr. Mendrop was correct on most of his points as follows:

• Eagle Lake was not the only community affected by the Great Flood of 2011.

• It is clear the Corps of Engineers made the right decision by letting water into Eagle Lake to equalize the pressure on the levee. Not one home or life was lost, not only in the Eagle Lake community, but in the entire Mississippi Delta inside the levee systems, including the towns of Rolling Fork, Valley Park, Holly Bluff, Anguilla, Mayersville, Cary, Louise and Hollandale. One only needs to look at the Flood of 1927 to realize the great feat the Corps of Engineers accomplished.

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Mr. Mendrop was incorrect when he stated the residents of Eagle Lake were the only ones you hear squawking about a class-action lawsuit against the Corps of Engineers for letting water into Eagle Lake in an effort to keep the levee from bursting and flooding the entire lower Mississippi Delta. I am a resident of Eagle Lake, as well as a good portion of my family, and none of us are part of a class-action lawsuit, nor are we squawking about the efforts of the Corps of Engineers.

Most Eagle Lake residents are grateful to the Corps and its contractors. We were able to come back to our homes, businesses, jobs and our community with no damage. The majority of squawking you hear about is not from Eagle Lake residents. It is those people with camp or lake houses who live and work in other places, but have weekend houses at Eagle Lake.

At the first sign of high water these were the people who fled to the hills and never witnessed the efforts of the Corps of Engineers beefing up the levee system to save their lake houses along with the rest of the Mississippi Delta. Most of these people do not understand the levee systems or what they protect.

After the water receded off of Mississippi 465, these people returned to see a few piers damaged and some erosion along the banks of Eagle Lake. The majority of the piers on Eagle Lake that were damaged were in desperate need of repair before the flood. The erosion is the result of clearing the grown trees from the lake banks, none of which the Corps had anything to do with.

The Eagle Lake community has a building code of at least 100 feet above sea level, which is approximately 3 feet to 5 feet above the top of the lake bank. As the lake level only reached 90 feet elevation anything that flooded or was damaged was in violation and should have never been built. These people are clearly trying to make a quick buck or on blaming the Corps for their own negligent and irresponsible actions. These are the same type of people you could pull from a burning house only to later realize that they are suing you for hurting their arms.

Eagle Lake residents were blessed. We realize that we were the ones who chose to live and build our homes in a flood zone. It is the price you pay to live in paradise, but it seems that a few people forgot this was a flood zone and that may be because of the great efforts of the Corps that caused them to forget.

Paul Ashley

Eagle Lake