National guardsmen along with local first responders helped people out of flooded East Orange Wednesday morning as the waters from the Sabine River rose through the night into the morning.
Once again, some caskets floated out their concrete vaults at Hollywood Cemetery on Simmons Drive. The vaults, which are about half above ground, have concrete covers that the force of moving water can remove. Then the caskets float out and move with the water. About 40 caskets floated out during Hurricane Ike.
Water kept rising through the night Tuesday and into the morning. Though water filled streets curb-to-curb and flowed into yards, nearly all the buildings in the evacuated area remained dry. The exception was the east end along Simmons Drive, which runs parallel with the river.
The Little Cypress area appeared to be the hardest hit. Though officials had warned and evacuated people east of Highway 87, hundreds living west of the highway found the water flooding roads and yards. Many had the water coming into their houses.
The Cove neighborhood also had flooding of streets and a few buildings. West Orange and Pinehurst remained mostly dry, though West Orange had to close Albany Street next to Adams Bayou. The street known as “Snake Road” off Park Avenue to Strickland Drive did not have to be closed.
Drivers in pickup trucks traveling through flooded streets created problems by creating waves of water that rushed toward houses. A resident in the Old Orange Historic District tied a 6-foot ladder between two ropes and tied the make-shift barrier to opposite street signs. He added a “No Wake” sign.
On Ada Street in Little Cypress, residents took sandbags to make a barricade against the traffic.
Wednesday evening, Maria Ingram was frustrated by the unexpected flooding and the trucks driving around barriers that had been set up. She lives on Allie Payne Road east of Highway 87 near the Orange No. 2 fire station.
The water “is already in my garage,” she said. Trucks were sending the waves dangerously close to the inside of her house. “They need to stop.”
photo by Billy Snyder