Archive for November 5th, 2011



It’s been six months since I’ve seen the Birds Point New Madrid Floodway from the air…; the last time was just days after activation. I had seen the north end just before May 2 in a helicopter fly over in the Governor’s group that was detoured due to inclimate weather in the specific area we were intending to fly that day; including hail…*at a very ironic location.

The first time I went up during a flood was not during this Flood of Record, courtesy of Mark Stallings. My initial birds-eye view of an epic flood was in 1993 – I believe – with Senator Bond’s representatives courtesy of the National Guard; I was filming for Rodney McConnell – the man who produced my early history and sports doucuemtnaires – who was compling the stuff for Tom Schutle of the Senator’s staff…

That flood was focused in the south end of the BPNMF but more so in other parts upriver on the Mississippi. But, I remember that day being quite leery of sitting open-side on the right of the chopper; I was also strapped in with – at the time – bulky recording equipment so the crew took special care with my restraints.

Eventually leaning out seemingly over the craft getting a look at Big Oak Park; and then up the river to Commerce, where the crew landed; it was an awesome ride.


This time, – 2011 – with Mr. Stallings at the helm, it was a surreal event. Seeing the aftermath of the activation first hand just days after the water began streaming into the floodway. It still boggles my mind and I saw it – and took photos of it; but it still all seems so surreal….

Tomorrow, I will have the privilege of being flown by Mr. Andrew Ambrose and will be accompanied by aaronvalleytrees documentarian and generational land owner in the floodway – Aaron Wallace.

For the record,I have seen this stretch of the water all my lifetime; In fact, learning how to water ski in the Hickman Bend during summer pool in the mid 70’s; I have crossed the Dorena Hickman Ferry a century of times if once…

I’ve looked at it from every bluff in Kentucky with a view; looked at Google maps and fished and swam in many parts of it…so, I felt like I knew it well…but, after looking at it from above – -flooded –beyond comprehension; and then travleing in a jon boat over the roads I’d driven on but this time using telephone poles as markers thru the waters courtesy of Mr. Pete Story I had a different view of the ground I grew up on…

No, I don’t have a financial stake in the floodway. I am not a farmer. But I loved that land, too. It mean a lot to me – and my memories. And, I have talked to enough iconic figures in the floodway long before; and during and subsequent to the flooding of their homelands….

They’re still in shock. No other way to describe it. I had a talk with one *gentleman – who I will keep anonymous – that owned a good deal of ground in the floodway and had a home in the water.  Raised a wonderful family; happily married and settled – so it seemed – into his twilight years….

That’s all changed now. And, it makes him sad.

I’m going up due to continuing interest in the reconstruction of the floodway. Mr. Ambrose is being generous with his time and Aaron Wallace continues to put together a monumental piece of historical documentation.

So, wish us luck and the Lord willing and creek don’t rise again, I’ll post photos tomorrow evening….Kp



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