Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News
KROTZ SPRINGS, LA – As more bays were opened on the Morganza Spillway, towns and communities along the Atchafalaya Basin were preparing for flooding.
There is a mandatory evacuation in parts of St. Landry Parish, one of the first areas expected to be affected by the rising water.
There is a fear in the town of Krotz Springs that people’s homes and businesses south of highway 190 could be under water soon.
A troubling sign in Krotz Springs was that nearly every home in the one subdivision had a trailer or truck in the driveway, to haul away family belongings.
Much of the area of town along the Atchafalaya River is under a mandatory evacuation. The community is in the direct path of the Mississippi River water being diverted 25 miles north at the Morganza Spillway.
“We know we got to get out because they keep saying the water is coming,” said Jane Solar.
She’s leaving the home she’s lived in for 63 years.
“Just packing the clothes, that’s all we’re going to take,” she said. “We’ll just leave the bed because it’s too big.”
Her air conditioner was one of the last things loaded on the truck.
She says much like it was for Katrina, she plans to have to start over when this is done.
Jonathan Brown, another neighbor, was also packing up.
“We took all of the important stuff first like pictures and clothes and stuff for the babies, then we started moving some of the furniture and I guess whatever we have time to get we’ll try and take out.”
The Louisiana National Guard is working around the clock to reinforce existing levees and build new ones to try to keep flood waters away from people’s homes.
Citizen soldiers are building a two-mile long flood control structure out of dirt and Hesco baskets.
“This area experienced flooding in the 1973 flood, which to that time was the worst water event on record in this place and where we’re standing now was under about three feet of water,” said Major Kenneth Baillie. “As you can see what we’re building is higher than that.”
The levee could also help protect the Alon Energy Refinery south of Krotz Springs.
Jane Solar said there is some resentment that homes in the area are being flooded to help preserve big cities like Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
“We all knew we were born and raised in the floodway, so they’re going to save the city. They’re not going to let these cities drown. They’re going to drown us poor people. That’s how it goes though.”
Some parts of Krotz Springs protected by a ring levee do not have to evacuate.