Around the Region

Watching his family and flooding from afar

While many of his family's belongings were lost in the flooding, everyone got out safetly.
Rhodes athletics photo

Sometimes statistics matter little in the grand scheme of things. Sometimes winning isn’t always the only thing and losses aren’t the end of the world.

Sometimes you see the world differently when real life throws a curveball, and Zachary Stuart knows that as well as anyone. Stuart is a sophomore defensive back at Rhodes and watched from afar as flooding in Louisiana overwhelmed his hometown of Denham Springs, which is located a little over 11 miles outside of Baton Rouge.

Stuart was in school already because football camp was underway for the Lynx. So in terms of helping his family out, well, he was helpless.

Fortunately, his family, with only a handful of belongings in their possession, got out before the worst of the flood, which left more than 20,000 in need of rescue.

“It happened fast and at first I wasn’t sure what was even going on,” Stuart said. “The streets flooded in a matter of like 16 hours. My family was lucky to get out before the flooding, and they were one of the homes with flood insurance. It’s hard to find the words to describe what they went through. I’m glad they came out of it OK.”

The flooding didn’t attract major news coverage, and most of the updates Stuart received on the situation were courtesy of text messages from friends and Snapchat conversations.

To get an idea of just how much damage the water did, consider this: Stuart is 5-foot-9-inches tall; the water level inside his family’s home was nearly to his head.

“It was above my shoulders,” Stuart said.

Under that water were personal belongings that can never be recovered because they have been washed away by the ugly side of nature. So many other families experienced the same thing because as Stuart said, “The town was underwater.”

But Stuart’s family still had their lives, and it beats the alternative. When he goes home for holidays this year, he’ll be staying in an apartment where his family now lives.

“It’s going to be different,” Stuart said. “It’s never flooded like that before in our town. It’s still hard to believe it happened. I don’t think it’s really hit home yet for me.”

This wasn’t the first time Stuart has dealt with flooding in his life. He was a child when Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans. He was staying with his father at the time, and although he is too young to remember most of the details of...

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Brian Lester

Brian Lester is a reporter in Florida. He has 14 years of experience at newspapers in Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio, spending 10 at The Courier in Findlay, Ohio. Lester also writes an Around the Region column for and wrote Around the Great Lakes for from 2012-14. He is a graduate of Eastern Illinois.

2014 columnist: Justin Goldberg
2013 columnist: Andee Djuric
2012 columnist: Kyle Robarts
2008-11 columnist: Jason Bowen


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