Bogalusa Businesses Count the Cost of Water Damage

Bogalusa, LA (WVUE)

Bogalusa water flooding

On Friday in Bogalusa, water overlapped cars and pounded rooftops. Early Saturday morning the aftermath of the storm was revealed. In just a few minutes, memories of a lifetime had been washed away. Resident Shelby McKenzie said that the flash flood water wasn’t even coming across the road, but within fifteen to twenty minutes it had gotten inside his building.

Another local resident named Ralph Pierce suffered water damage as well. He said they had five feet of water inside his building. It ruined all of their stock and produce. He added, it couldn’t have been any worse. It was a complete disaster.

Pierce and Shelby McKenzie, who is his brother-in-law, own a Bogalusa staple called Zesto. The business has been in their family for over 50 years. The rising water on Friday from the Pearl River and Bogue Lusa Creek was something that they hadn’t ever seen before in their lives. Pierce said they weren’t able to keep up with this particular storm. They couldn’t do anything because it came on so quickly.

According to the family, the water fell as rapidly as it rose. In fact, it rose so quickly that wildlife from the river was seen in a parking lot nearby. After the water receded, family members even discovered several alligators within the area.

Jacob Harvey cleaned the mess up that was left behind in his son’s salon and flower shop. He said, that when they went down there in the morning there wasn’t any water around, even in the parking lot. All that was left was the aftermath. Mr. Thomas was helped in the water removal and clean-up process by his friend Justin Taylor who was visiting on a hunting trip and also happens to work for a company that does Atlanta water damage ceiling fixes. “In the past 30 years, I’ve never seen rain this bad,” Justin told us.

Water in excess of five feet threw around heavy furniture, chairs and other items, leaving them in a dirty pile with everything covered by a layer of mud.

Another local resident named Matthew Hemphill experienced the damage firsthand. He said, they were naturally worried about their electrical system. They unplugged everything to ensure that no one got shocked. But everything was very nasty.

Over two feet of water poured into Hemphill’s house on Military Road. He and his family members salvaged whatever they could. However, the rapidly rising water caught them off guard and not much was dry.

Hemphill said that within fifteen to twenty minutes the water was at ankle level inside, but outside up to our knees. He saw the water was up to the side skirts on his truck and knew they needed to get out.

It can be very difficult to get out and stay out of harm’s way in certain areas of Washington Parish since even the day following the storm the area continues to be threatened by the rising rivers.