Stories of flood survival thanks to Donaldsonville residents

Leslie D. Rose @DvilleNewsie

On Aug. 11, California resident Barbara Harrison and her sister were headed to the airport in New Orleans, after visiting their hometown Plaquemine. It had already begun to rain and their travels down La. 3089 had started to become a nightmare.

As the heavy rain started flooding the streets and currents rushed, Harrison found her car swaying off the roadway.

"The sky ahead of us became very dark," Harrison said. "The rain was coming down in large drops very fast. In less than 30 minutes of very heavy rain, the car started filling up with water up to our waists. The car engine quit, and at that point the car started floating.

We bailed out of the car in front of Whitney Bank, started moving/floating toward the bank where we were met by two young men who rescued us and brought us inside the bank where the ladies working there were great in helping us get dry and warm."

So taken aback by the entire ordeal, the sisters from Sacramento, Calif. never got the names of the two men or the bank employees who helped them, but Harrison said they will be forever grateful to all their "angels."

"A shout out to these two men, who were also stranded in a red pick-up truck, who we didn't even get their names and the bank personnel at Whitney Bank.

Thank you Donaldsonville."

A few days later, after waters had gone down enough for cleaning in Baton Rouge,Kristin Alfandre Maum - a teacher at Donaldsonville High School - said that five of her students made the selfless effort to assist her family with cleaning out their damaged business and home.

Alfandre Maum's family owns Mason's Grill which sustained flood damage, but it was nothing compared to the nearly six feet of water that had entered their home.

"We have had to split our time between fixing the restaurant and cleaning out the house," Alfandre Maum said. "My parents focused on the restaurant because it didn't just impact them, it impacted 60 plus people's incomes and livelihood."

Not knowing how they found out, Alfandre Maum noted that five student-athletes from the Donaldsonville High School football and baseball programs - Tahj Brown, Davon Wright, Trevon Mitchell, Deondre Fisher and Kaleb Phillips - came to help after learning that their teacher's parents lost everything in the flood.

"Without being asked to, they volunteered to come help pull all of the furniture, etc. out of the house," Alfandre Maum said. "When they finished with my parents' house, they heard that our neighbor across the street - an older woman who lives alone - didn't have anyone to help her clear out her house, they immediately stepped up and started on her house as well. Then, our other neighbor needed help pushing his flooded car out of his garage.

These young men didn't miss a step - they started helping without even being asked. I cannot tell you how proud I am to say that these are my students. I love them very much for all they have done for my family and our neighbors.

In times like these, people always say, "Look for the helpers." Well, these young men are more than helpers. They were our saviors. I was in tears for all that my family has lost, but these boys did so much to make my family and me feel at least a little bit better."

If you have a story about how someone helped you during the Great Flood of 2016, we want to share it. Email or call (225) 473-3101.