Brett Broussard tried to wait out the floods. The 55-year-old created a perch Saturday atop a mobile home on his street in the Sherwood Forest area, pillow and all. Family members believe at some point he fell and knocked himself out, eventually swallowed by the muddy current that engulfed the neighborhood.
The Baton Rouge native, who ran an "old-school" printing press, as his brother put it, for most of his career, was found not far from his house, two days after the rest of his family escaped. Broussard died of an accidental drowning, the coroner said.
The people who perished due to what some are calling the Great Flood of 2016 — 13 have died, as of early Thursday — were swept away in vehicles, or were dragged under by debris, or fell into ditches, according to official accounts and those of their families.
Some were the lone fatalities among others traveling with them, like Stacey Ruffin, who escaped from a pickup Friday with her mother and another relative in St. Helena Parish. The latter two clung to branches as the waters rose, one for 16 hours, the other for 24, said Ruffin's aunt, Marilyn Harrison.
Ruffin, of Roseland, was tugged under the surface and didn't survive. The 44-year-old was found Saturday about 20 feet from where her mother had gripped the branch. Her mother had no idea her daughter's body was so close by, Harrison said.
"She loved her mother," Harrison said of Ruffin, a Wal-Mart jewelry clerk who had two children of her own. "If you saw her, you saw her mother. They were that close ... like two peas in a hull."
Ruffin's mother lost two children the same day, Harrison said. When the rains hit, the trio had been traveling from Amite to Greensburg to identify the body of Ruffin's brother, who died Friday of a heart attack.
Though Ruffin's mother survived, "she wanted to give up," Harrison said.
The record floods moved south quickly, cutting a wide path as water spilled out of the banks of the Amite River and its tributaries, uprooting some people multiple times as they sought shelter in places that everyone said would never get swamped.
Of the 12 dead, seven were stuck in vehicles or were found near their automobiles.
On Sunday in Rapides Parish, 57-year-old Ordatha Hoggatt , of Leesville, and her grandson bailed out of their vehicle on a road in Hineston called Big Creek, said Lt. Tommy Carnline of the Rapides Parish Sheriff's office.
Sometime later, two women happened to hear the cries of what they thought was a cat, he said. They swam to the screams, which were coming from the child who'd grabbed onto a tree, and saved the youngster, Carnline said.
The boy is under the age of four, he said.
Hoggatt's body was found dead of asphyxia due to drowning, said Rapides Parish Coroner Jonathan Hunter.
Linda Bishop, 63, was discovered inside her flooded car at 10840 N. Ridge Drive, in the Brownsfield area of Baton Rouge, just a few blocks away from where she lived. Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said Bishop was last seen turning around her car in high water when it was swept away.
"She ran the show. She called the shots. It was her way or no way," said Bishop's daughter, Jenny Phenald, 34, who described her mother as a "take-charge kind of person."
At the same time, Phenald said, Bishop was a sweet and "protective mama bear" who was beloved by the neighborhood children who would visit her after her husband died a little over a year ago.
Bishop was a retired secretary who served the State Police for 30 years, Phenald said.
At least one person who died in the flooding may have just been passing through.
Earrol Lewis, of Houston, was driving through Louisiana and Alabama to visit family and friends, said Reeshemah Lewis, a relative.
The 49-year-old rapper, who went by the name Cise Digga, was found dead in or near a vehicle off of Interstate 55 near Kentwood, said State Police Lt. Nick Manale.
"We are all still in deep shock," Reeshemah Lewis said. "He was a good swimmer, but I guess it was too strong for him."
Another flood victim was former Amedisys CEO Bill Borne, 58, who was found drowned in a wooded area off Hoo Shoo Too Road on Tuesday.
His body was discovered near Mallard Lakes, said East Baton Rouge Coroner William "Beau" Clark.
Borne founded the national home nursing company Amedisys in 1982.
In a Facebook post Monday, Borne’s daughter, said her father had last been seen around 2 a.m. Sunday and that his red 4-wheeler was found in the water near the boat launch at Mallard Lakes subdivision off of Hoo Shoo Too Road.
Search and rescue operations are continuing throughout the many places affected by the floods. On Wednesday afternoon, authorities found the body of a man in a wooded area where waters had risen 5 feet in Livingston Parish, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office said in a release.
"We hoped this wouldn't come, but knew it was a possibility," Livingston Sheriff Jason Ard said in the statement.