Family recalls saving their quadruplets, toddler from rising floodwaters

Jade Cunningham talks to a family with five children who escaped flood waters.

WALKER, La. - A family from Walker is in the process of moving forward after losing their home to recent flooding.

With five-year-old quadruplets and a toddler, it's been tough. However, they say after what they've been through, all they need is each other.

After watching rain swallow the Baton Rouge area, but the Matherne's thought they were in the clear.

"I had gathered a bunch of stuff to donate to those who did flood," said Laura Matherne. "We were never expecting to flood at all."

However, the next day, water was in their house and still rising.

"To stand there and watch water rushing into your home you feel helpless," said Laura. "It came in fast once it hit the doorway. It wasn't a trickle, it started rushing in."

The main concern was getting their five children to safety.

"We woke the kids up and a neighbor came over and said there was a strong current in our street," said Laura. "Three neighbors and the two of us put the kids on our shoulders and carried them across."

A neighbor had told them beforehand if they needed a safe place to go to head to their house. With two floors, the bottom of the house was flooded, but the Matherne's stayed upstairs where it was high and dry. After several hours, phones went down, the toilets started to back up and the Matherne's were left with no choice but to somehow leave.

"My husband put on a lifejacket and swam down the street," said Laura.

Michael Matherne took matters into his own hands after remembering his neighbor had a boat. The boat's owner told Michael where the keys were, and he went to look for them. Michael said it was one of the longest moments of his life.

"It just seemed like it took forever," he said. "The water had pushed it away from the driveway. Even on the trailer, water pushed it down the road a little bit and was wedged into a tree and telephone pole. It took a little bit, and I got it started. It was nice when I got it started, a big relief."

One-by-one, they put their children on the boat and a few others who needed rescuing and got everyone out safe.

"I never want to experience it again," said Laura.

They now have nothing but each other and their family. Still, they said that's all they need right now to get through this.

"If we didn't have our family, I don't think we would've made it this far," said Michael.

The Matherne's said there've been tough days, but right now they're focused on trying to get a little normalcy in their life. They said the help of family and friends have made that possible for them with a place to stay and lots of clothes and other necessities. The quadruplets were able to enroll in a new school and started classes Monday.

(© 2016 WWL)


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