In August of 2016, 20 to 30 inches of rain fell in the Greater Baton Rouge area. The Amite and Comite Rivers swelled to record levels, forcing water through a complex tapestry of creeks, canals, streets, and neighborhoods. Upwards of 75,000 structures flooded, with damages estimated at $10 billion. Thirteen people died. Older residents remember a similar flood event in 1983. But back then, fewer than 6,000 homes and businesses flooded.
Residents of the village of French Settlement, Louisiana, know what it’s like to flood. They live next to the Amite River, midway between Baton Rouge and Lake Maurepas, surrounded by swamps. We can learn a lot from their stories. What does it take to get back on your feet? What does it take to recover? What does it feel like to lose so much? And what can be gained in the aftermath of such loss?