Dealing with flooding — again

Published 7:11 pm Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The river is rising, spilling over its banks and invading subdivisions and homes close to the water.

It seems I’ve been covering flooding for the past four years, and each time it brings back the memories.

I’ve often written about my experiences with Hurricane Katrina and the effect it had on my family and our home on the Coast. We are, in a way, flood victims; our house was inundated with 4 ½ feet of storm surge as Katrina made her pass over Pascagoula.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

It’s amazing what moving water can do. I walked into our home the day after the storm to find items that were in our bedroom in the living room. An oak dresser we inherited from my parents that was so heavy it literally took four people to move when it was emptied was face down on the floor as if some large hand had pushed it over. Bookshelves, television, all tossed to the ground. Everything was soaked. My tool box holding what was easily estimated at $1,000 worth of tools collected over the years I worked on our cars was on the ground and the tools inside ruined.

I came here in 2011 at the height of the spring flood and toured flooded areas in an airboat. I could feel for the owners of the homes that were under water with only a vent pipe or a wind turbine marking their location.

Later, I walked through Kings and Ford Subdivision to talk with victims trying to clean their homes and come to some semblance of a life.

Surviving a flood is like surviving a serious accident or a fire. Some things remain in your mind forever and continue to haunt you at certain periods in your life.

It was while walking through Kings and Ford that those familiar smells from six years earlier began to hit my senses, and for a while I wasn’t in Vicksburg; I was back on the Coast dealing with wet carpet and furniture and tossing appliances, clothing and other items on that big, long pile on the curb in front of my house.

I knew what those people were going through. I could feel it, smell it, and I truly felt for them, because I had been there, too. Floods are equalizers; they put everybody affected in the same boat, regardless of age, race, sex or wealth. It’s a disaster that hurts everyone.

Last year, just like the year before, I traveled in a boat through Kings, Ford and Cickasaw. I saw the flooded homes; the mailboxes poking up above the water and the endless surface of water going through homes, and I selfishly thought, “Better them than me,” and I felt ashamed, because I had been in that position and knew that it could happen again at some point.

So this year, I’m watching the water rise and talking and writing about people whose lives may at some point be shattered by Mother Nature and I’ll remember my own experience.

John Surratt is a staff writer at The Vicksburg Post. You may reach him at

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

email author More by John