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Escatawpa homeowners begin the soggy task of flood cleanup

KAREN NELSON/ SUN HERALD 
 
 Calvin and Dorothey Parker fill the back of a pickup with carpet and other materials ruined by floodwaters in the Escatawpa home. They were the worst hit on William Baxter, first to get water and still had yard flooding on Monday.
KAREN NELSON/ SUN HERALD Calvin and Dorothey Parker fill the back of a pickup with carpet and other materials ruined by floodwaters in the Escatawpa home. They were the worst hit on William Baxter, first to get water and still had yard flooding on Monday.

ESCATAWPA -- In the last few days, Dorothey and Calvin Parker had to wade to their home, at first, almost waist deep.

"It got us," Dorothey Parker shouted to a visitor, who was watching from the street on Monday as the Parkers went in and out of their carport.

"We weathered it, but we're crippled," she said. "I prayed and prayed and prayed. But it looks like a bomb went off in my house."

Late last week, the Parkers sandbagged all the entrances to their William Baxter Road home and waited for the water to rise, as predicted by weather and emergency management officials.

No stopping the flood

But when the rising Pascagoula River pushed water over their threshold, there was no stopping it. They even moved sandbags from the front of the house inside to the back, where water was coming in. They bagged the inside doorways, hoping to keep the water in the den,. But she said, the water surrounded the house and began pouring in from under all the walls.

On Monday, her furniture was soaked throughout the house, belongings they could save were piled onto furniture. The carpet was stripped out. They were spraying pure bleach from a pump spray onto the walls and disinfectant on the concrete floors where carpet had been in an effort to get ahead of the mold and the smell.

She is 60, and he is 61. She said they're too old for this.

"The sandbags alone liked to have killed us," she said.

"But we're staying," she said. "We're just trying to put it back together the best we can. It's all our belongings."

Theirs is one of a dozen brick homes on slabs in a circle of houses off Roberts Road, near the river. About one-third of them flooded.

He's disabled now, but when the Parkers bought the house in 2007, Calvin was working in construction. She called it live-and-learn. The house had not flooded until last week.

After his stoke in 2010, they let the flood insurance go, she said, because it had grown to $4,900 a year from $1,200 when they bought the house.

"When you're on a disability check, you have to pick and choose," she said.

Floodwaters receding

Looking over her muddy yard, a pickup full of carpet padding and a still-flooded back yard, she said. "I think I could accept it better if it had been a hurricane instead of just somebody got a little too much rain."

The Pascagoula River swelled its banks last week after heavy rains locally and up-river. It is the country's largest free-flowing river. But that can be painful at times.

It was back to within a foot of the flood stage on Monday, Emergency Management Director Earl Etheridge told county officials. County Roads Director Joe O'Neal said they had found very little damage to county roads because of the flooding.

A total of eight homes reported flooding, Etheridge said. That ranged from a couple of inches to three feet. Sheds and shops also flooded.

Ann Grensing, who also lives on William Baxter off Roberts Road, said she saw a blue gill swimming on her front porch during the height of the flooding.

Etheridge said water was so high on the Wade-Vancleave Road that crosses the river, that it pushed dozens of little, 2-foot alligators out. They would be sunning on the roadway, he said. When they'd go check on the road, they'd all scatter back into the water.

He said, "It was something to see."

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