Mississippi flooding crashes over West


Laurence Walker

The flooding in Davenport has reached River Drive with water deep enough to surround buildings. Geese and ducks are able to venture from the river to the downtown area.

Laurence Walker, Reporter

On Tuesday, April 30, the levee that has been up for over a month holding the record high flooding from the Mississippi river broke, and crashed over downtown Davenport. According to KWQC, the river levels reached 22.64 feet on Thursday, May 2, surpassing the previous record of 21.63 feet set in 1993. Apartment buildings are surrounded, neighborhoods are flooded, and entire yards are consumed by these floods. Some at West are among the affected.

“When I was at school, it burst. My building is completely surrounded and inaccessible,” Special education teacher Amanda Bohart said. “I’m not able to have my basic things from home, starting all over, even though it’s temporary, from nowhere.”

Bohart was able to briefly access her home, aided by the Coast Guard. She is currently paying for an extended stay hotel.

“They[Coast Guard] let me in on Wednesday (May 1) for about ten minutes just to grab a bag of clothes. They put us on a boat and floated us down over there,” Bohart said. “I don’t know how long I’m going to be at the hotel. I’m just going week by week by week at this point.”

Bohart is still at West this week, but her life, just like her home, has been consumed by the flooding.

“My focus has been more on surviving [and] figuring things out than it has [been] on schoolwork at all,” Bohart said. “There’s been a lot of phone calls to insurance companies, finding a place to stay, contacting my friends and family… …They’ve all been checking in with me quite a bit. So I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone now.”

Beyond Bohart’s friends and family, others have offered her support in any way they can.

“So many teachers reached out to offer me assistance and make sure I had shelter and the basic necessities. All of my students were so kind when I returned to school… …some students even made me cards and let me know they were all thinking of me,” Bohart said. “I truly believe ‘West is best and thank God everyday that I’ve been fortunate enough to be a small part of the West High way.”

Students have been greatly affected by the flood as well, one of whom is freshman Deyvin Miller.

Miller lives on Enchanted Island, near Credit Island. Floods aren’t a new experience for him, and his house is on 6 foot pillars for whenever they occur, but this is the first time he has had to leave his home.

“Currently we’re staying at a hotel,[and]  the water is less than a foot away from getting inside my house,” Miller said. “We had to take a boat over to my deck. I had no yard left.”

Before Miller had to leave, he had been using a boat to travel to and from his home.

“Over the last month I’ve had to take a boat four times a day, to school and back and to work and back,” Miller said. “Whenever we had to go grocery shopping, we had to carry it over in the boat.”

Another student affected by the flood is freshman Caleb Hass. He lives between Davenport and Buffalo near the river. For a month, Hass’s neighborhood has been flooded, while his parents and others have been working on a sandbag barricade.

“The flood comes out of gutters and drains and it’s filling up the streets to waist high or above waist high,” Hass said. “Our neighbors are parking in our yard and helping us. My parents can’t go to work right now because any moment that wall could break and we’d have to evacuate.”

People have come together to support Hass’s family, helping to keep the barricade solid and ensuring everyone has necessities.

“Our whole neighborhood is helping us, and high school students and middle school students,” Hass said. “The National Guard and Coast Guard are down there giving people food.”

So far Hass hasn’t reached out to West for help, but things could change.

“Right now we’re fine, because we have enough friends and family down there. But we may need help depending on how high it gets,” Hass said. “It’s supposed to crest today (May 3) and it’s supposed to stay this high until July.”

Although Hass hasn’t had to leave his home yet, he knows about eight to 10 people who have been evacuated.

“My cousins live right in front of us on the other side of the bank and their front flood wall broke so they had to completely evacuate in the middle of the morning. It was still dark out, and the National Guard had to go out there and help them,” Hass said. “There are still some families that have a chance to get out and are choosing to stay there for now.”

West’s social worker Jennifer O’Hare has been keeping track of those affected.

“I know of about 20 at West affected by the flood. I know of five who have been displaced,” O’Hare said.

O’Hare is concerned about the culture at West and urges those who have been affected by the flooding not to hesitate in reaching out for help.

“I take pride that everyone takes care of themselves on the West end, but it’s okay to ask for help… …I may not know what to do to help, but if we know there’s a need, then we can start to figure out what we need to do to help,” O’Hare said. “One resource I found was the Iowa Realtors Association. If you go to their website you can apply for a mini-grant of $1,000 dollars if you’ve been displaced by the flood.”

The record breaking flooding has had an affect on the Falcon nation and all over Davenport. Communities are coming together to combat it, but it is a pressing time for many. Some have been displaced, others are even living in a different city, while others are stuck home fighting to protect what they have. The flood waters will return eventually, but the lives of those affected will be consumed far longer.

“I live down on Second St.,” Bohart said. “It’s hard not having a home to go to.”