Bogalusa business owners assess damage caused by flood waters - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Bogalusa business owners assess damage caused by flood waters

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BOGALUSA, LA (WVUE) -

Water raged against rooftops and overlapped cars in Bogalusa Friday. Saturday’s dawn revealed the aftermath of memories washed away in a matter of moments. “It wasn’t even coming across this road,” said resident Shelby McKenzie. “Fifteen to twenty minutes later it was in the building.”

Ralph Pierce, another local resident, also suffered damage. “We had five feet of water in the building. It just eliminated all of our produce and our stock,” said Pierce. “It’s just a total disaster. (It) couldn’t have been no worse.”

Pierce and his brother-in law Shelby McKenzie own Zesto, a Bogalusa staple that's been in the family for more than 50 years. Friday's rising water from the Bogue Lusa Creek and Pearl River is something they’ve never seen before. “This time you couldn’t keep up with it,” said Pierce.  “It came in so fast, there was no way we could do anything.”

The family says the water fell just as quickly as it rose. So quickly in fact that wildlife found in the river could be seen in a nearby parking lot. Members of the family even found several alligators in the area once the water receded.

Steve Thomas cleaned out the mess left in his sons flower shop and salon.  "I mean this morning, we come down here and there's not even any water in the parking lot,” said Thomas.  “Just the aftermath."

The five plus feet of water tossed around chairs, heavy furniture and other items and discarded them into a dirty heap with a layer of mud covering everything.

Matthew Hemphill, another local resident, also experienced damage firsthand. "Naturally we were worried about the electrical system,” said Hemphill. “We had to go unplug everything to make sure nobody got shocked, but it's just nasty.”

The rising water pushed more than two feet of water into Hemphill's home on Military Rd. His family salvaged as much as they could but the quick rising water caught him by surprise and little was dry.

"After about fifteen to twenty minutes it was up to her ankles inside, but I was probably up to our knees outside,” said Hemphill.  “So I saw the water up to the truck on the side skirts and I said we need to get out."

Getting out and staying out of harm’s way is still difficult around sections of Washington Parish as the rising rivers continue to threaten the area even a day after the storm.

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