News / USA

Vicksburg Businesses Band Together to Fight Floodwater

Workers push to quickly complete a makeshift levee by packing dirt on top of an old railroad bed in the Green Meadow neighborhood of South Vicksburg, Mississippi, May 2011
Workers push to quickly complete a makeshift levee by packing dirt on top of an old railroad bed in the Green Meadow neighborhood of South Vicksburg, Mississippi, May 2011

Multimedia

Jeff Swicord

As flooding continues along the Mississippi River, happy outcomes are hard to come by. There is one neighborhood in the South Vicksburg area of Mississippi, though, where five small businesses have joined forces and devised a plan to build their own levee. With a little ingenuity and determined spirit, they are fortifying an old raised railroad track along the river, hoping to keep the water out of their property and hundreds of homes in the surrounding area.

In the Green Meadow neighborhood of South Vicksburg, the race is on against the rising water. Workers are rushing to complete a makeshift levee by packing dirt on top of an old railroad bed.

Authorities are expecting nearly four centimeters of rain to fall here within the next few days. Officials want to make sure the levee can hold back the additional water. Carl Harris is with the city of Vicksburg.

“If you look over the side the water is right here so, we are trying to beat the water and the deadline,” said Harris.

Floodwater has threatened more than 200 homes in two neighborhoods and a cluster of businesses along Interstate 61.

Morgan Spivey, shop foreman at a local company - Energy Services International - told VOA the initial flood estimates would have left them pretty dry. But when revised estimates were made, the company became alarmed.

“Well we knew the water was coming up," said Spivey. "We had our first crest stage at 53.5 [feet], which wouldn't affect us real bad. We would have some water in our loading dock in the back. And then three days later, they increased the crest level to 57.5. [17.5 meters].”

That would put one meter of water in the machine shop. So Spivey went to his boss, Clay Currie, with a plan that would save their business and two neighborhoods in the area.

"We have a natural railroad track behind the office," said Currie. "Went back and looked and saw how we could utilize that. And got with some other companies here locally on the south side of Vicksburg and made a plan to do what we could.”

At first, the city of Vicksburg, which owns the railroad tracks, was not very supportive of building the levee. So, the five local businesses began the project with their own money.

“We kicked the process off privately," said Currie. "A couple of local TV stations interviewed us, and some of the guys from the other companies that were working down there, and that kind of made it known that we weren't getting the assistance that we had hoped for.”

The city of Vicksburg quickly changed its mind. Spivey said that was the plan all along.

“We were really dependent on the city and the county to step in," he said. "Once they did step in, they took the job over and got a lot of the headache off of us.”

"So, at 57.5 [feet], this is where we expect the water level to reach," said Spivey. "If the levee system fails.”

Residents like Joe Pettway in the Green Meadow neighborhood are thrilled. He said they would have had half a meter of water in the house without the plan. But as a precaution, they will still be moving some of the essentials out.

"My mom is 86 and my brother is 54, but he's not in very good health," said Pettway. "So we feel like we need to move the majority of the appliances and bedroom furniture and that kind of stuff and just have a makeshift home, if you will, until the water recedes or starts receding."

But the city predicts a positive outcome for the neighborhood. And the Army Corps of Engineers is confident the levee will hold.

The project will be completed in the coming days, in plenty of time for the expected crest on the 19th.

You May Like

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs