Locals deal with flood; recreational boating restricted on Eagle Lake

Published 7:25 pm Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The sign at the corner of Washington and Levee streets tells passersby that Levee Street Marketplace is open for business.

Sitting across Levee Street from the Old Depot Museum, Mary Landers’ store is just a few yards from the Mississippi River, which is lapping against the shore behind the museum. Moored behind the museum, the American Queen rises above the building.

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At the intersection of Levee and China streets, city crews were in the process of closing the Levee Street gate, effectively blocking Levee Street to traffic.

“I’m going to be fine,” she said as she looked out the building’s front door. “They (officials) say the river’s going to 51.5, so I’ll be all right. I’ll begin worrying when it gets to 57.1.”

Levee Street Market Place has been on Levee Street since 1978, and managed to avoid getting flooded in the 2011 spring Mississippi flood when the river rose to a record-setting 57.1 feet, nine-tenths of a foot above the Great Flood of 1927. Red paint and a sign on the store’s foundation marked how high the water got.

“We had to close and lost business for three months, but we didn’t lose anything,” Landers said.

And business, she said, is doing well, adding she plans a flea market for Saturday.

“I’m going to be fine,” she repeated, “They’ve told me 51.5 and I’m going to go with what they tell me.”

Eagle Lake Update

While city officials deal with the effects of high water, residents of Eagle Lake are virtually surrounded by flooding. Mississippi 465 is under water and the residents are dealing with the potential of limited routes in and out of the area.

Although not flooded, Eagle Lake is isolated,” Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace said.

Presently, Pace said, access to Eagle Lake is possible through the backwater levee off U.S. 61 North, and the mainline levee from the north. Water, he said, is over Low Water Bridge Road and Goose Lake Road.

And authorities are trying to restrict traffic on the backwater levee.

“The backwater levee is not a public road, the (Mississippi) levee board opened it up so Eagle Lake residents can have access to their homes and property,” Pace said. “Unless someone has property in Eagle Lake, we’re asking them to stay off the backwater levee.”

And if water on the backwater side of the levees gets any higher, he added, water may flood areas of 465 that have so far stayed dry. Any further flooding, he said, could force residents to use only the mainline levee to access Eagle Lake or areas outside the flood zone.

And vehicle traffic is not the only form of transportation restricted. The Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks is prohibiting all recreational boating on the area’s oxbow lakes — Eagle Lake, Albemarle and Chotard. The lakes remain open to commercial fishing and people who can only access their property by boat.

Pace said deputies are stationed at Eagle Lake and are escorting school buses across the backwater levee to make sure children are picked up and dropped off.

Sheriff’s deputies are also patrolling along Long Lake and Thompson Lake roads, Chickasaw and Ford Subdivision.

“This is a very serious flood,” Pace said.

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.

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