Huge Mississippi river flooding in the delta

Here it was during what should be flooding season from a hurricane, but the mighty Mississippi had significantly flooded earlier in the spring and summer putting the counties of Warren, Issaquena and Sharkey under water.  The water was still standing 3 months and longer in some areas.  Standing high over the dock and gazing at Louisiana far across the river, it was hard to fathom that the water was over 3 feet deep where I was standing – just outside a small, hidden country hangout for the locals.

I loved this deployment. Leslie wasn’t with me on this deployment, but one aspect of being Reservists with FEMA is that Leslie and I love seeing America, not as tourists passing through, but living and working with the locals.  Mississippi has MEMA (Mississippi Emergency Management Agency) and I loved working with them as they introduced me to delta life.

Only in Mississippi did  work daily, out in the field, with the State’s emergency first responders. On all my other deployments in other states FEMA worked in the field by ourselves, in our 8 person teams, out in the communities affected by the disaster.

Because we were working with MEMA, they knew the back country local places, far off the beaten path of outsiders. This is where we frequently came for lunch.

We also work frequently with sharp young people who are interns under FEMA Corps, a part of the AmeriCorps program (like the Peace Corps which is overseas, AmeriCorps is working within the US).

Because the river frequently floods, all houses are built on stilts. Small hamlets are called “fish camps” where a half dozen or so homes are built close to the river.

I like to learn about the history of the area, the major income sources of work for the community, to hear the culture of the community. The delta is a rich source of Americana, good and bad, that has occurred over the centuries.

Meeting our MEMA partners everyday in Vicksburg, I drove past the huge Vicksburg National Military Park where the decisive battle was fought for control of the Mississippi. Because extensive details were kept of the battle between the Confederates and Union, it is known where individual men died in the battle that raged for days, and they were buried where they fell. Today, one can drive through the park and see how the battle ebbed and flowed, read all the highly detailed descriptions of the various States’ units that fought in that battle, and see an “Ironside” that was recovered from the mud of the river and now rests at the entrance of the Park.

And it’s said Teddy Roosevelt got his nickname here!

We learned about cotton, watched it being harvested, taken to the gin mill and how it’s sold around the world.

I learned a lot about America on this deployment!

Filed under article topic: FEMA Deployments
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