One year ago, the Sabine River threatened to sweep away the east Texas town of Deweyville. A record foot and a half of rain swelled the river over its banks. Businesses, schools and homes all flooded. Many of them weren’t insured. Residents were forced to evacuate. It was a catastrophe for every one of the city’s thousand or so residents.
Today, Deweyville is still trying to get back on its feet. Brad Haeggquist, the principal of Deweyville High School and Junior High School, says he continues to be reminded of the situation everyday.
“My school ended up being the staging area for all the emergency personnel and evacuation and subsequent recovery,” Haeggquist says.
Haeggquist says residents of Deweyville continue to feel the flood’s effects. He says the schools are still struggling to cope with stretched resources.
“The elementary school went five feet under water so we put together a plan where pre-K through 12 were on my campus,” Haeggquist says. “We just made due with the facilities we had.“
Outside of the classroom, Haeggquist says his students and teachers are struggling as well. He says more than half of their lost their homes in the flood.
“Kids recover rapidly you know, in the case of the adults…everything that they owned their entire life was gone,” Haeggquist says.
Haeggquist says this tragedy is accentuated by not only the degree of damage from the flood but the fact that many people are still paying mortgages on houses left literally underwater. Because of this situation, Haeggquist says the town’s recovery is nowhere in the immediate future.
“In time, Deweyville will recover,” Haeggquist says. “But just like what happened to us with the hurricanes, it’s gonna be a decade. What it looks like at the end of 10 years I don’t know.”
Written by Morgan O’Hanlon