JACKSON, Miss. — Sacheen Stamps lived for 11 years in her northeast Jackson home and never thought about flooding. She bought insurance when she moved in, and promptly forgot about it.
It’s all the 43-year-old can think about now. She can’t sleep.
On Sunday afternoon, she stood on her still-dry street and watched the water creep higher. It had already inundated her neighbors only a few dozen feet to the south. Now it filled the gutters of her front yard.
“I’m very nervous,” said Stamps, a Nissan manager who lives in the one-story brick home on Meadow Oaks Park Drive with her mother and 17-year-old daughter.
For now, the family was staying with a relative nearby, and probably would be for days. They had packed some furniture in a U-Haul, and left other belongings behind, propped up on cinderblocks.
“Things can always be re-obtained,” Stamps said, “but life can’t.”
Stamps was one of hundreds of Jackson residents who either watched their homes flood over the weekend or worried their residence would soon be drenched as the Pearl River continued to rise toward 38 feet.
Moving vans were parked in many southeast Jackson driveways Sunday afternoon, ready for additional evacuations. Usually quiet neighborhoods were bustling, as people checked on their neighbors and friends, or tried to catch a glimpse of engorged creeks spilling into neighborhoods. Police cars swarmed.
“I have a lot of money tied up in this house,” said Iietta Sanders, another Jackson resident anxiously monitoring water levels on her street Sunday afternoon. “You can’t probably sell it … because who wants to move in? I’m hoping and praying the water don’t come this far. I hope it stops where it’s at.”
Previously reported:Historic flooding slams Mississippi as river continues to rise
Mark Wakefield knows what it takes to rebuild after flooding: His in-laws’ home in Jackson has flooded four times before. The worst was 1979 when the house was 8 feet underwater. The home has flooded again, he said, and this time they might not come back.
“It’s no fun,” Wakefield said. “Once the water’s in the house we’re looking at months of cleanup and reconstruction. It’s nothing life threatening to us, we’re careful enough… but it’s just extremely frustrating and disgusting to have to go through this.”
Nate Green and his two kids, ages six and eight, couldn’t get through Jackson streets by car, so they went by canoe. While paddling the streets, he and his children came across floating debris — clumps of leaves and someone’s doormat.
“It’s going to be financially crushing to a lot of people,” Green said.
Stamps has done her research in recent days. Her home was filled with 5 feet of water in the 1979 flood — but may have been spared in 1983, she said. After not thinking of flooding for eleven years, now she’s wondering if she’ll stay in this home — whether it ends up flooding or not. It’s stressful.
“Do you see these bags (under my eyes)?” Stamps said half-jokingly to her friend, who had arrived with several others to provide moral support. “Do you see I have not slept for days?”
The friend, Pamela Hedrick, was trying to keep the mood upbeat on Meadow Oaks Park Drive. She sat in Stamps’ driveway in a folding chair, cracking jokes, smoking a cigarette and drinking a beer. Then she turned serious.
“Everyone is just walking around with a dreadful look on their face,” Hedrick said.
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