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Judy Patsch 05-03-2011 11:36 AM

Live from the Levee
Keith Norrington just called in from a very wet Natchez Mississippi. Its raining there today, just what they need. The flood stage is 45 and today's reading is 51 feet. Its expected to go to [B]65[/B] feet by May 20. The gambling boat has been moved upriver a bit and secured, sandbags are going up on Silver Street, which will be closed soon. Water will get into the old Cock o' the Walk Restaurant, the gift shop and other buildings down there. I think the saloon might stay dry. Keith says if Jeffery wants the MAMIE BARRETT, now is the time! They aren't even attempting to visit her, as the whole area around her is flooded. If she's floating, Jeffery, you could just nudge her out! Unfortunately, if she isn't floating, chances are the water will inundate her up to who knows what level. Keith and his parents paid a visit to the St. Francisville/New Roads ferry which will be shut down when the new bridge opens this fall. He reports that the gravel pits are still there at this most scenic DQ landing site... Tomorrow will bring his annual organ workout in the Port Gibson Presbyterian Church, where the chandeliers from the ROBT. E. LEE hang.

inactive user 02 05-03-2011 11:45 AM

Can't wait to see Keith's pictures from the river down there. It is so sad to see what is happening to all these towns. Not only the flooding, but the loss of tourist income from the boats.

Thanks for keeping us up to date with the travels (and trevails) of the Norrington clan in the deep water....urrrrrummmm Southland! Hope the car has sponsons just incase!

Lexie Palmore 05-03-2011 12:11 PM

1 Attachment(s)
This is what Keith needs for his journey to the Lower Mississippi and its environs, a snorkel on his car. He may even need one for himself. Blub.

Keith Norrington 05-06-2011 09:04 AM

The Soggy South and a BIG River!
Just back from another enjoyable southern spring sojourn visiting friends, plantations, museums, playing historic pipe organs and, of course, eating too much! This year saw the Grand Old South very soggy and the Mighty Mississippi getting HIGHER by the hour. My parents and I had lunch at Natchez Under-the-Hill on Tuesday at the Magnolia Grill. The angry river was creeping closer to the top of the bank and was rushing past at a rapid pace. The city has spray painted numbers on Silver Street to indicate how much will be submerged at various stages. The pseudo sidewheeler casino boat is pulled up as high as possible and they had already sandbagged around the gangplanks and were pumping water off the lowest point of the street.

For those who remember when Under-the-Hill included restaurants such as[I] Cock-of-the-Walk [/I](now up on Canal Street in the old railroad depot) [I]Natchez Landing Ltd[/I], and [I]The Wharfmaster[/I], those buildings are no more. Because they want to quickly build a temporary wall to protect the historic buildings, crews with two bulldozers were demolishing those abandoned structures and depositing the rubble into dump trucks. It was announced early in the week that the casino would close on Sunday, but that has now been moved up. Silver Street has been made two way with the Biglane end of it (access behind Rosalie) closed. As of last night, Natchez police are now asking that nobody go down there unless you have official business. One of the staff at the Magnolia Grill tearfully told us that she lives over in Vidalia and had to wade from her home that morning to get to her car. Other than the Under-the Hill area, Natchez enjoys the safety of her perch high on the bluffs, but low lying Vidalia (opposite Natchez on the Louisiana side of the river) is bracing for the flood by augmenting their levee with the construction of a temporary levee of plywood and sandbags. Vidalia Dock and Storage has moved everything out and the owner said she expects to lose their building.

No visit was made to Deer Park, Loozeyanna this year, as the cutoff area where the old Str. MAMIE S. BARRETT is located (17 miles downriver) was already well under water. My friend, Maria Greer, who lives over there said her family is fearful and busy with flood preparations, but she hopes to have her brother take her out in his boat later to get pictures of the derelict old steamboat. With the hull of the MAMIE tissue paper thin and some misguided soul having removed much of the foam from her, it's anybody's guess as to how long she will float and if the two thin lines on her will hold. Everywhere you go the talk is about the "BIG WATER" and officials keep telling residents to be prepared but not to panic. Easier said than done when you see that river on a rampage and know it's getting higher before your eyes. Still, the indomitable spirit of people who love living on the river, even at floodtime, is apparent. As usual, smiles and true southern hospitality abound -- and I heard laughter and someone twanging a guitar singing "River Stay Away from My Door" as I walked by the Under-the-Hill Saloon!

At the Grand Gulf Historical Park near Port Gibson (between Vicksburg and Natchez) they have removed all of the Civil War, steamboat, other artifacts and exhibits from the museum as they expect the building to be flooded. As with the 1973 flood, another serious concern is the amount of snakes and other critters that have been found going up into downtown Vicksburg and other places as they seek high and dry ground!

The Mississippi at Natchez today is well above 53 feet, some 8 feet above flood stage, with a revised forecast of 64 feet by May 22nd. Officials predict that the Lower Mississippi will remain at flood stage well into July. The Ohio is still slightly above flood stage here at Louisville but slowly falling. Driving up through the Evansville area last evening, there are still many areas flooded and the roads which approach the bridges at Henderson have the Ohio lapping at them with hundreds of acres under water. It was sad to see numerous homes and big farms with the houses and barns surrounded by flood water.

Will post some pictures later after I've unpacked. Meanwhile, for all of us who love and respect the river, and those who live and work upon it, there's not a lot we can do at the moment but pray for the safety and well being of all concerned. May God be with them every one.

Keith Norrington 05-06-2011 05:42 PM

A Few Flood Photos
3 Attachment(s)
Herewith are several images of the flooding Mississippi at Natchez, taken earlier this week. The river has risen several feet since these photos were taken.

(1) The WIDE Mississippi looking upstream from the bluffs at Natchez.
(2) Isle of Capri Casino boat floating HIGH along Silver Street at Natchez-Under-the-Hill
(3) Sandbagging and pumping operations at the casino.

Keith Norrington 05-08-2011 08:40 AM

Creeping Ever Closer
The Mississippi is now above 54 feet at Natchez and completely across Silver Street at its lowest point down under the hill. The casino is closed and only authorized vehicles and pedestrians are permitted to go down the hill. For up to the minute coverage, including panoramic videos of the sandbagging operations on Silver Street, click on [url=]Mississippi's Best Community Newspaper | The Natchez Democrat[/url].

Maria Greer reports this morning that her family is busy moving out of their home in Vidalia and that those who live in the Deer Park area (where the MAMIE is located) have all moved out of their houses and the road is inacessible. My thoughts and prayers are with them and everyone else affected by this flood.

On a happier note, the Ohio here at Louisville is falling and is at 17 feet today, well below the 23 foot flood stage. Hallelujah!

Keith Norrington 05-10-2011 04:20 PM

Deeper by the Day!
The Natchez Democrat website ([url=]Mississippi's Best Community Newspaper | The Natchez Democrat[/url]) has posted some very unique photos and panoramic videos of Under-the-Hill, showing the activity going on down there. Water is expected to be 14 feet deep over the dip in the street near the casino landing. The Magnolia Grill and the saloon are still open for business!

Maria Greer tells me that she's had eyewitness reports that the old Str. MAMIE S. BARRETT is afloat and that she hopes to have some pictures to post soon.

Jeffrey Williams 05-10-2011 06:38 PM

[QUOTE=Keith Norrington;25878]Maria Greer tells me that she's had eyewitness reports that the old Str. MAMIE S. BARRETT is afloat and that she hopes to have some pictures to post soon.[/QUOTE]

Maria gave me the same notification about the Mamie. That part alone is good news. Now to get back to figuring out how to finance and acquire her to make sure this doesn't happen again!

Bob Reynolds 05-11-2011 11:51 AM

I got off the m/v MAGNOLIA yesterday about 11:30 at Vidalia Dock & Storage's fleet boat dock. Much construction of a temporary floodwall was being finished up at the hospital and the Comfort Inn. The lot was beginning to flood where we had to get off, and we rode about 100 feet through the ankle-deep water in the bucket of a front-end loader so we wouldn't get our feet wet going to the car.

The river was flowing VERY fast. In slack water with the 6 barge tow we had, we can make a little over 9 mph. We were making 2.2 through the bridge.

I am glad to be off and finally at home. The bad part is, the river crests at N.O. 2 days before I get back on, so I'll deal with another month of high water, at least, when I go back!

The pool at Kentucky on Saturday was 372; normal pool is 359. All that water will have to be dribbled out over the next couple of weeks, as well as other reservoirs in the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys.

Keith Norrington 05-11-2011 01:56 PM

Thanks for your "eyewitness" report Bob. I'm glad you're OFF that rampaging river for a while!

Last week I watched an upbound tow struggling mightily as they came up under the Natchez bridges. Even with TWO towboats shoving, their headway against that current was very slow.

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