Sunday, May 15, 2011

Here Today but Gone Tomorrow

A slow drive by afforded a good inspection of what was left. What wasn't left were much of the inhabitants of this small village. Mobile homes sat well back off the road, boasting a large front lawn, flowers snuggled against the skirting and sago palms dispersed haphardly around the area but devoid of vehicles or people. Most had packed up and gone, leaving behind their weekend camps but just as many of these houses were the everyday living quarters of the ones in this bayou.

Gardens were producing already and abandoned. We left the narrow paved road and drove up onto the levee. From there we could see the houses on the riverbank. The muddy water was already over the banks and creeping inward. On this side of the levee there were people sitting outside their homes, maybe for one last while knowing all would be gone after today.

The parrish sheriff's deputies were patrolling in the event someone needed assistance. Sandbags were being filled, backhoes were digging and loading trucks that were hauling the sand to where we didn't know.

The small store held a bench on the front porch with a lone man sitting and enjoying a sandwich. I stepped up on the board step and crossed the wooden porch to open the screen door. Immediately inside and to the left was the cash register manned by an elderly woman waiting on a customer. The small store's inventory was scant. Nothing had been reordered to fill the shelves after the notice was given of the mandatory evacuation earlier in the month.

I walked down a narrow aisle on oiled board floors to the cooler in the back. A few cold soft drinks were left, the selection minimal. An Orange Crush and a Mountain Dew were cold and wet and those two values were all I required. 

I stood in line at the counter behind two reporters with their press badges on lanyards around their necks. Later we would see them filming as a mobile home was being towed out of the coming waters' path.

The chances of anything left in Butte La Rose seem small to none. As we drove away it was with a few pictures in my camera and the knowledge that this community was designated to be destroyed.

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