Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Port Townsend, today. Whilst researching for an article I am writing for my Blog concerning Willamette Geared Locomotives, I stumbled across a web site featuring photos of Tallulah, Louisiana, during the Great Floods of 1927.
Tallulah, Louisiana, is not as well known as New Orleans, or Memphis, or Baton Rouge. But there are literally hundreds of towns and communities that get caught up in disasters, "for whom the bell never tolls." [Hemingway]
"Tolls" is an amount or extent of loss or destruction, as of life, health, or property. [dictionary]
So I am Tolling the Bell of Tallulah here on Oil-Electric.
I could have focused on many a small town or community overlooked by mainstream media. But I chose Tallulah because it was four miles from Barnes, on the Vicksburg, Shreveport & Louisiana Railroad.
And the mighty Mississippi River tried to wipe her out.
The importance of Tallulah is in her people and the rich farmland surrounding the town, enriched, ironically, through the annual flooding of the Mississippi River, bringing nutrient soil from up north.
This irony creates a love-hate relationship, with the US Army Corps of Engineers trying to maintain the peace.
First, let's locate Tallulah, Louisiana on a broad scale view, and then a close up view.
The darker green areas in the map below, delineate the inundation zone of the Great Flood of 1927, followed by a second crest, lighter green, also in 1927. [Click on map. When open, click on magnifying glass symbol.]
Tallulah is located just west of Vicksburg near the top of the map.
The following photographs were taken in and around Tallulah, Louisiana. As you can see from the maps above, Tallulah is more than six miles from the Mighty Mississippi.
The photographs speak for themselves. Scott Airfield, just to the northeast of town, is where a small crop duster grew up to become Delta Airlines.
That was 84 years ago, almost to the day. The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 crested at Vicksburg on May 4, at 56.0 feet.
The River today, is at 57.03 feet, as reported at RiverGages.com. So the Mississippi River has exceeded the flood level of the Great Floods of 1927.
Here is what residents of Tallulah are finding - today - when they bring up their community web site.
Now I have never lived in a place where there is the annual threat of being flooded out of my home. I cannot begin to imagine how to cope with such thoughts.
I remember when I was in 1st grade, standing with my parents near the banks of the Capilino River, in North Vancouver, British Columbia. We were watching a normally docile river roaring by under the glare of flood lights, which did pose a threat of flooding our new home, scaring the begebers out of me!
The sight and the sound are etched in my mind.
Somehow I think I answered the question of why people live in those areas. It must be a love - hate relationship. One that escapes my comprehension.
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