Flooding Victim Talks About River's Destruction

Originally published on May 10, 2011 12:33 pm
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

Now we're going to turn downstream on the Mississippi to a community that's preparing for the river to crest later this week. It's Tunica, Mississippi. And on the line with us is Melanie Delhome, who's at the shelter there. And although the river hasn't crested yet, you had plenty of flooding in Tunic already haven't you?

MELANIE DELHOME: Yes very much.

SIEGEL: How close to the water was the home before the water started flooding?

DELHOME: Well, when we left, the water was just rising. Our camp is always the last one to flood. But when it did start flooding, it went fast. I haven't been there in two weeks Wednesday. So when I saw it, the first camp was flooding pretty much pretty bad. They say that they probably will not be able to go back there, back to Charlie's camp.

SIEGEL: Now we should say Tunica Cutoff, that's the community. Is it a subdivision?

DELHOME: That's the community. Yes, sir.

SIEGEL: That you live in.

DELHOME: It is made up of four, we call them camps, but they are homes. It's people's homes their whole lives. They're, you know, everything that they have.

SIEGEL: What is the condition of your house now from the pictures that you finally seen.

DELHOME: The pictures that I've seen, it hasn't made it to the roof yet. Our house was pretty high. Probably by tomorrow it's probably going to be very close to rooftop. It is pretty much immersed in the water.

SIEGEL: So, obviously, the contents of the house are pretty well ruined.

DELHOME: We got some things out. But, you know, we weren't able to get everything out. We're thankful that we're okay. But my mother was the main concern. My mother will be 70 next Sunday, and she has to start her whole life over. I was more concerned with her things. I did what I could with hers. I just grabbed a couple of items of clothes, you know.

SIEGEL: But it sounds like your biggest possession, the house itself, might be beyond repair.

DELHOME: Of course, of course.

SIEGEL: It's that flooded.

DELHOME: Yes. I mean, that was my mothers home. It was paid for, you know? And now, I've got the get her okay. And she is an age where no one is going to sell her a home with a mortgage at her age.

SIEGEL: Did the home have flood insurance?

DELHOME: That's - no. That was just it. No, it didn't. My stepfather passed away a year ago today and we didn't take care of that, like we should have, renewing things. So I mean, you know, I guess that's the price we pay.

SIEGEL: Well Miss Delhome, thank you very much for talking with us, and I hope things work out.

DELHOME: Well, thank you very much.

SIEGEL: That's Melanie Delhome speaking to us from the shelter in Tunica, Mississippi. She's from Tunica Lake Cutoff, an area where the homes have really been inundated already and where the Mississippi is likely to crest later this week. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.