Families open up about harrowing flood evacuations in La Grange

Colorado River flooding in La Grange. (KXAN Photo)
Colorado River flooding in La Grange. (KXAN Photo)

LA GRANGE, Texas (KXAN) — The day after the Colorado River crested at a level not seen in more than 100 years in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, local and county entities are inspecting the damage left behind to homes and businesses, and conducting safety checks before owners are allowed to re-enter.

Over the weekend, Sarah Jackson and her three children were evacuated from the home they rent along the river, when floodwaters began to rise and ultimately overwhelm the home.

“When they came knocking on my door, I had to go, go, go. So, I grabbed Social Security card, ID, birth certificate [and] ran,” said Jackson. “Then like 20 minutes later, my house was gone. So, I’m grateful for life because if I stayed, that [would have] been four dead bodies floating somewhere.”

Jackson says the only thing you could see after levels peaked was the tip of the house.

“That’s your everything. So, my everything is gone and it hurts. I want to cry, but I can’t keep crying in front of my kids,” she added.

Law enforcement and emergency crews are blocking off streets to Jackson’s home and others, in an effort to evaluate safety in the area. In the meantime, the Jackson family is staying at the Red Cross shelter at the Second Baptist Church.

At last report on Tuesday, nearly 50 people are staying at the shelter and a majority of them, we’re told, are local residents escaping flooded homes.

Although Jackson’s landlord has insurance, she does not have renter’s insurance.

“My pictures, baby pictures, and all that stuff, you can’t get that back,” she said. “I can replace furniture. I’ll replace clothes. I’ll replace all that stuff. But my life, I can’t replace. My kids’ life, I can’t replace that.”

However, at this point it’s also unclear how long the Jacksons may be out of a home all together.

“That’s a while to rebuild a house. That takes time to build, bottom up. What happens in the meantime? When they close this [shelter], I don’t know where to go. I don’t know what to do,” said Jackson. “What’s my next move? I don’t know. I got kids asking me, ‘Momma, what we gonna do?’ I don’t know.”

Sometimes the insurance process is a difficult one.

“Trying to deal with the people, trying to find your agent, or the claims agent and things like that. They usually come in in large masses,” said Roy Childs of Second Baptist Church. “I don’t know that we’ve seen any here yet, but I’m sure they’ll be here.”

The cleanup process is often a long one.

“Getting the mud out of the houses, getting them sanitized, getting them cleaned, getting them rebuilt. It’s going to be a very tough, long process,” added Childs. “We need to do what we can to find housing for these people because this is going to be a long-term process.”

As for Sarah Jackson, she says right now she has to re-group and continue praying. That’s all she says she really can do.

“Ask the man above to show me what to do because I don’t know. I don’t know what to do, and to try to continue to be strong,” she said. “I’ve got faith. So, something’ll happen.”

Fayette County is opening a recovery hotline for all residents to call throughout this phase of cleanup. Anyone interested in volunteering or donating to the effort should call the hotline at 979-968-1809.

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