Kelly Bordelon toyed with getting some sandbags as Hurricane Barry approached, but he’d didn’t think he’d need any, since he never flooded before.
On Monday, workers from Pointe Coupee Parish delivered sandbags for him, but not before his recently remodeled house in Lettsworth took in 3-4 inches of water. He’s been planning to move about 15 miles south on undeveloped land, but that may have to wait.
“I’d hope to save that money for the new house,” Bordelon said.
Bordelon was one of the few unlucky people in the capitol region to suffer flooding from Barry. Although downgraded to a tropical depression on Sunday and already in Arkansas, intense rain bands continued to dump rain throughout Louisiana on Monday, including the upper end of Pointe Coupee Parish.
Bordelon Road No. 2, which has six houses on it and was developed by Kelly Bordelon’s family, as well as a few houses on nearby La. 1 were the most threatened by the rain.
A flash flood watch blared from Bordelon’s cell phone at 2:30 a.m. as heavy rain and lightning struck. But as he left for work two hours later, the water hadn’t risen very high, so he thought he was okay.
His uncle, Wayne, who lives across the street, was watching and saw water reach his front door.
Workers with Pointe Coupee Parish sandbag Kelly Bordelon’s house in Lettsworth this morning to prevent further rain flooding of the house pic.twitter.com/tW7REiWJ3Y— Charles Lussier (@Charles_Lussier) July 15, 2019
That prompted his dad, Layton, who lives farther down the street, to contact local Police Juror Jimmie “Tater” Gaspard, who then got parish crews and jail inmates to bring over sandbags. They were able to protect other houses on the small road, and the crew also cut a hole in a rear levee so water could drain into a sugarcane field behind the street, but it was too late for Kelly Bordelon.
The rain, which finally let up before noon Monday, dropped 12½ inches of rain on the road, according to Wayne Bordelon’s rain gauge.
The parish Sheriff’s Office took to Facebook late in the morning to alert residents as to what was going on as well as to put to rest rumors that there was a breach of the nearby Atchafalaya River levee.
Mark Ward, director of emergency preparedness for Pointe Coupee Parish, said there were reports of as much as 15 inches of rain in the vicinity.
“It’s not 10 foot of water, but it’s enough to ruin your day,” Ward said.
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Parish President Major Thibaut came out to help with the sandbagging operation. Barry largely spared Pointe Coupee, with the exception of the flooding and a few trees falling on streets and houses, he said.
“We’ve been lucky,” Thibaut said. “This is the only flooding we’ve really experienced during this storm.”
Thibaut, who took office earlier this year, said he’s been trying to clean out major bayous and drainage channels that haven’t been cleared in decades. In the meantime, the upper part of the parish has had more rain than it can handle. He hopes it’s finally ending.
“It needs to stop raining, plain and simple,” Thibaut said. “Twelve to 15 inches anywhere in our parish, it’s hard for our drainage system to hold.”
Along La. 1, as the state highway approaches the bridge to Simmesport, small lakes of rainwater had replaced people’s front yards.
Jacqueline Cannady’s house was just above the flood water but her car wasn’t. The Chevy Cobalt LT parked in her front yard had been moved to the side of the highway, but not before water got through the floorboards. She didn’t want to try to start it, but wasn’t sure how she’d get to an auto shop.
“I don’t have the money to get it there,” Cannady said.
She said she’s surprised the storm hit her area with such ferocity.
“I thought Barry was gone,” she said.
Kelly Bordelon’s dad, Layton Bordelon, was surprised as well when he woke up Monday morning to see his son’s house flooding. The house, which was once occupied by his own parents, hadn’t flooded before.
“Never had any water in the house,” he said. “It got close a few times.”
The weather wasn't yet done. Later Monday afternoon the rain returned, erasing some of the draingage progress from earlier, but not bringing enough new water to get back into the house. As Monday night began, Kelly Bordelon said he hopes it stays that way, but he's not ready to relax.
"I still got my furniture about 6 inches off the ground," he said. "It ain't going down until this is over with."