Charles C. Martin's Blog - Posts Tagged "denham-springs"

descriptionI started work on this children's book after finishing The Less Fortunates. Interestingly, with only a few pages left, the town we live in, Denham Springs, Louisiana, experienced a ridiculous amount of rain, and 90% of the homes in the city flooded. Our house fell in with that majority.

The flood happened quickly, with little warning, and it really rocked everyone's world here. Our area received an estimated 31 inches of rain over the course of 48 hours.

Something that has really shocked me over the last few weeks is the attitude of the kids during what is now referred to as the Great Flood of 2016. We have four of our own, ages two to eight. School just started a few days before the flood. Suddenly, there were children who lost almost everything, living in homes with exposed walls, trailers, hotel rooms, or even friends' living rooms. You would think the amount of complaining would reach biblical proportions. No way. It was like they just shifted to their new world. Smaller things, like an AC turning on, made them happy. The Legend of the Great Grandaddy Crawdaddy, Lone Survivor is about never giving up, and that is exactly what these kids are doing.

This work is dedicated to them. We have made a free digital copy available here

Link to Free PDF

The paperback version can be found here

Order on Amazon

On a side note, I had an experience during the flood that really stirred me and I want to write about.

I have changed the names of the individuals mentioned below to respect their privacy.

On Saturday, August 13th, during the middle of the night the Amite River began rising rapidly. Suddenly, from 3-6 AM water began pouring into homes in the area. We were all getting texts from friends and family who needed to be rescued. Then something happened to the cell towers, and none of our phones would work. When the ability to communicate broke down, the urgency set in.

At dawn I loaded a canoe onto my truck and headed to an area I knew would get hit badly. I pulled into a strip mall parking lot, unloaded the canoe, and started paddling down the road. At this point there was 3-5 feet of water in most of the houses.

I paddled past a group of spooked horses and did my best to stay on what I thought was the road. There were already guys putting boats in with loud motors and zipping out to find people. If I had had a boat with a motor on it, I would have definitely taken that instead. Ironically, if I did, then what happened next would have never transpired, because alone in the canoe I could hear the softest sounds.

After I had paddled about a quarter of a mile, I prayed that God would lead me to someone. I stopped and listened. Literally like thirty seconds later - no exaggeration, I heard a small tap. It was so soft I could barely hear it. I paddled two strokes in the direction I thought it was coming from. There was a house with white columns and hundreds of spiders and other insects on the stucco exterior trying to get out of the water. I got closer and saw a small, frail hand in the window.

When I got out and pushed the door open, I saw a terrified older lady holding onto a walker in chest deep water. The lights flickered off and on. Some furniture was floating, and there was a poodle swimming by her. After I lifted her, the walker, and poodle into the canoe, she was hysterical about another dog in the house.

Mariah is an overweight lab who I found out later had given up and let herself sink three times. When she began to drown, she would lift her head back out of the water and scratch the patio window. I saw her head sticking up in the back of the house and managed to wade through and pull her out. So there I was with my new friend Mrs. Sherry, a walker, and two dogs in a canoe.

Once we were on dry land the confusion really began. There was so much chaos and so many people that needed to be rescued, but there was nowhere for them to go. People were getting dropped off at gas stations and street corners and left there for hours. In some cases, days. It was nuts. There were people stranded on highway overpasses with no food or water. It took about 48 hours for the helicopters to start dropping supplies in those areas. The water was reaching everywhere, so roads were getting shut down, and there was no way in our out. Places that were sheltering people started flooding also. This is all still really fresh. It just happened a month ago. I’m sure over time more of this information will get out there.

So anyway, Mrs. Sherry was now in my truck, soaking wet and shivering. She wasn’t someone I could just leave on the side of the street where she would wait for a day or two to get picked up by a bus and taken to a shelter. There was just no way. I couldn’t get to any shelters by road at this point. Almost every road was flooded and closed. We live in a two story house, which I could still get to by truck, so the only thing that made sense to me was to get her dry and put her on a couch in our upstairs bedroom with her dogs.

Over the next four or five days we took care of her and waited on gutting our house. Once the roads cleared and phones started working again, we were able to track down some of her family members in Hammond, Louisiana, and they took her in. The host family couldn’t take Mariah, the lab, so she is living with us now.

I want to write about Mrs. Sherry. This woman is fascinating - a fiery redhead in her mid to late 70s. She was married for 20 years and abused to the point that she was diagnosed with PTSD. She later married a man named Thomas who passed away a year ago. According to her, he treated her like a princess during their 30 year marriage. He would only buy her Cadillacs, mainly pink, that she raced down the interstate at 90 mph. Thomas was a Native American, and she swears his spirit led me to her.

A strong woman. In the madness of that Saturday morning, I later found out that she had a .38 pistol and was ready to use it on herself for fear of drowning. I really want to write her story. I don’t know how I’m going to write it yet, as I am much, much more comfortable with fiction. We'll see.
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Published on September 14, 2016 12:31 • 72 views • Tags: childrens-books, denham-springs, kids-book, louisiana-flood