Rodney removing levees after Great Flood of 2011 - - Jackson, MS

Rodney removing levees after Great Flood of 2011

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The levees are coming down in Rodney. A couple of houses were saved by throwing up hasty dams to block the Mississippi River's encroachment. The Brumfields here were pumping 60 thousand gallons of seep water a day out of their dry oasis inside their levee. They saved their house, though.

Most of Rodney is in the flats that lead to the river a mile or so away. And when water gets high the low side of the street gets flooded. And this year it got higher than ever. The water line on the old Rodney Masonic Lodge is at the top of the door. Same with the Rodney Baptist Church building. The inside is still wet and the pews are all stacked together where they floated in the flood and then settled when the water went down.

The most famous building left standing in the old deserted river port is the Rodney Presbyterian Church. It's situated a little higher than the rest of the town, at the foot of the bluff. But water even topped the wrought iron fence in front of the building. You can see the water line on the bricks of the steps leading up to the church itself. The old building is getting into sad shape again. The last restoration was about 1995. And if flood water got into the building and warped the floorboards may sound the death knell for the historic old church that has been here since 1831.

I tried to gauge what the high water mark may have been by the mud on the historic markers outside. And the water line on the bricks. It would be close.

And then going inside, you have to squint to be sure because the old building hasn't been cleaned in a while, but although there was dirt on the floor and dead bugs, there is no mud, or any evidence that water actually touched the floor.

But I remember a day when this building was in MUCH better shape. As well as the Baptist Church building across the way. As it was with many of the other buildings in Rodney like this little Creole cottage. This photo is probably about 10 years old. And that little building got flooded completely. But it looks like the deterioration of it started long ago.

In the 1940s, Eudora Welty lamented how much Rodney had gone down since its heyday when she was there taking her pictures. Now, it's not "gone down" so much as it is mostly gone. And a couple of its historic buildings need someone to step in and save them again while there is still something here to save.

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