ON THE LEVEE – On a normal Sunday boats would be ramping at the landings and tourists would be taking Atchafalaya Basin boat tours. But yesterday was spent preparing businesses along the levee for the “historic flood of 2011.”
Mitch and Laurette Mequet, owners of Cypress Cove Landing and Houseboat Rentals, along with a few friends were sitting on the porch talking about the water invading the Basin.
Mitch has marked a post on the front porch of the store where the water is projected to rise. At 20½ feet the water will reach the front porch. He points to 24 feet, which is just above his head, with the marking stopping at 25 feet.
Laurette says she spent all week packing her furniture and belongings, leaving only a bed and dresser. Todd and Sue Trahan ofGrand Anse stopped by and offered their help.
The Trahans were customers of Cypress Cove and had come to lend a hand. Asking if they needed a place to stay and offering an elderly lady who lives on a houseboat at Cypress Cove a room in their home.
Laurette later tells me that “All week long people have been stopping by and offering help.”
The Mequets will continue to operate their business as long as there is access to the lake.
Laurette says, “Mitch might make me leave but he’s going to stay with his two best friends, Crown and Seven and Smith and Wesson.”
“This flood of 2011,” says Mitch, “is going to be a learning experience for everyone, especially the officials.”
Over at Atchafayala Basin Landing and Turtle’s Bar, Tucker Friedman packs all the memorabilia from Turtle’s Bar to move it to higher ground. The merchandise was moved from the store to a houseboat. A diesel generator was installed on the houseboat Friday, allowing the store to continue to operate.
Family and friends filled Turtle’s Friday night reminiscing about the good ole times at the bar, where you could get a cold beer and on Thursday nights, a free meal.
One of Tucker’s friends, Norris stopped by after securing his camp at Beau Bayou “It’s going to take a lot of beers to fix that sheetrock at my camp,” says Norris, “I helped Tucker build this bar and I needed to stop by and drink one more beer.”
Atchafayala Basin Landing has been featured in the latest a Blue Cross/ Blue Shield Commercial feat
The Landing also served as a backdrop of the soon-to-be-released sci-fi movie “Swamp Shark.”
“If the water comes as high as they are projecting, Turtle’s Bar we have known for the past 12 years will be underwater,” says Friedman, adding that he does plan to rebuild his business.
Kate’s on Butte La Rose is located on the river road, and the Sunday afternoon crowd included mostly locals checking on owner Kate Buchanan. Kate, sitting on a bar stool, tells of being interviewed by CBS earlier during the day.
Kate explains that she owns a house and business near the levee and that she “wanted to see the water levels rise before I leave. I’m not going to be foolish, I’m ready to leave if I have to, adding that “We all need to shoulder the responsibility for living in a watershed.”
Other businesses, including Angelle’s Whiskey River dance hall and McGee’s Restaurant located along the levee will be flooded and suffer a loss of revenue because of the flood.
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