New rules to live by in Memphis' Northaven community
A man rakes debris Wednesday in a flooded mobile home park in the Memphis, Tennessee, suburb of Northaven.
May 11th, 2011
04:05 PM ET

New rules to live by in Memphis' Northaven community

The Memphis, Tennessee, suburb of Northhaven has been flooded extensively, and now the community has some unofficial new rules aimed at keeping people safe.

"If you're thinking of going swimming in the floodwaters, don't," Shelby County sheriff's spokesman Chip Washington said. "Some folks have been in the water, letting their kids play in the water. It's extremely dangerous. It's no joke. It really isn't."

Parts of Memphis have flooded thanks to a swollen Mississippi River. The river on Tuesday crested at Memphis more than 13 feet above flood stage, just short of a Memphis record set in 1937.

Washington said people should be mindful of debris, contaminated water, rodent infestation and snakes. Animals have been fleeing the river basin, and poisonous water moccasins and copperheads have been showing up in people's yards.


Click the audio player to hear the rest of the story from CNN Radio's John Sepulvado:


"We had a moccasin hang out in the back for about an hour," Northaven auto mechanic Eric Scott said. "In 15 years I've never seen anything like this. We had flash floods last year, but it's like a zoo out back (of the auto shop)."

"There have been alligators showing up in people's yards," Washington said. "People need to be careful."

Residents of the Memphis Mobile City mobile home community have been living with rules for years. The compound posts signs warning against trespassing, soliciting and loud music. Now there's a new rule posted: Don't enter until the waters clear. About 180 people lost their homes here, including Alda and Walter Garcia. Their home near the front of the park is submerged.

They were able to relocate most of their belongings while the waters rose.  However, the storage unit they moved their property to flooded as well. Alda is devastated, and her son Walter says the family is waiting on Federal Emergency Management Agency to find temporary housing.

"They're going to tell us where we're going to live. Right now we're staying at the shelter," Walter said. About 500 others also are at shelters around Memphis.

"We are going to have to start all over again," Walter said. "And it's sad, but we else can we do?"

It could be weeks before residents are allowed to return to their flooded homes. Although the river has crested in Memphis, the water is receding slowly, leaving an old rule to live by: Patience is a virtue.

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Filed under: Tennessee • Weather
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. stashamo

    I'm in Memphis now and have seen the pictures that coworkers took of an alligator in the northern part of the city. I wouldn't have thought so either.

    May 11, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • i cant belive is not butter

      Man I say take acction and fight back mother nature by killn that crock for food or boots...a 8ft gator is worth about 1800 in louissiana you could sell it ....just saying

      May 11, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. nita

    Now wait a minute.....Katrina hit south Florida and THEN everyone in New Orleans was told for 3 days straight to "GET OUT". "THIS STORM IS COMING" and they all chose to stay. They were given a chance to board a bus and leave but they decided that they were smarter than the experts so NO.I don't feel sorry for them. Do you ever wunder where the more than 1 billion dollars the Red Cross got in donations went? Not to the victims of Katrina. If you're going to give....give to the Salvation Army. And don't even get me started on where the donations went that they received for the victims in Haiti.

    May 11, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann Mulhearn

      They did not ALL choose to stay – over 80% of NOLA's population evacuated. That's 800,000 in the metro area – all of whom evacuated. Those relative few who stayed – such as my cousin – generally did so because they were essential personnel or had no where to go. But what did or did not happen in NOLA is irrelevant – it is has NOTHING to do with the situation in Memphis and its outlying suburbs. And as a person on the ground in Memphis, not to minimize the very, very real devastation in pockets of the cityclosest to the river and its tributaries, I can tell you the counties to the north and south are much harder hit than Memphis.

      May 11, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. sugamama

    What diffence does it make about the alligator? You don't know what these people are being subjected to.How many floods have you been in?

    May 11, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Johnny

    You say your not prejudice but what you just posted Dwightguy begs to differ. Now, I am sorry that the crime rate is high in that complex, but its the tenants thats causing the problems not all blacks. As far as "earning your trust" if your not smart enough to see the difference between hoods and thugs, and blacks that work as hard as you do to put food on their tables, then maybe its their trust you need to "earn"

    May 11, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bubbles58

    my heart goes out to all the victims.I think everyone should stop complaining. no matter what the problem is as human beings we should help one another.

    May 11, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ray horsman

    Hold on all u americans does free speech exist easy with mob mentalit?

    May 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. maclean

    rhonda s is a disease on this planet and needs to be drowned in the flood waters. Why did GOD take good people but left Rhonda S to be a pain in our ass?

    May 11, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. maclean

    Ray Horseman.....mob mentality is our right as americans. If it wasn't for "mob mentality" segregation would still be in existence.

    May 11, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. mikey

    Makes me wonder when you had a river that was at one time a mile wide in areas you can control it by making it narrow so you will have more land to grow or live on without problems. All this was brought on years ago

    May 11, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Gary Smith

    Seems like we as Americans need to figure out how we can channel some of this water to areas that are in shortage of water like florida where it has not rained in months. Maybe our government needs to build a interstate water system that can move h2o around and distribute it more evenly.

    May 11, 2011 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mgutierrez

    Ok I live here in memphis im so happy I didnt get flooded. And never seen an aligator

    May 11, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  12. michelle

    Wow ignorant peoplel should not be allowed to open their mouth! I live in Memphis and see first hand how devastating this has been and all u people can do is run your mouths about how this is the earths way of getting rid of people and how blacks cant be trusted...so on and so on! God didnt put us on earth to complain about each other but instead to help one another. So if u dont feel the need to do something to help even if its just to donate supplies than please dont waste our oxygen by complaining!!

    May 11, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jan johnson

    while i better put away my club get to work i know where there some kids that need shoes they grow up fast. there are alot of people in real need some have alot of pride and dont ask and those who stay on a gravy line there hole life. I dont feel sorry for those that dont even try. there are so many in need its hard to say no. its getting to the point where you just dont have it to give but you have to keep trying ever give up hope.every thing comes around sooner or later.

    May 11, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mike1spurs

    my prayers go out to the babies that die and suffer in these sad times stop all the bicering and shed a tear for the little angels that r no longer with us

    May 11, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. D.D.Higgs

    My question is to the idiots that always thinks our government is plotting against the fellow people who actually govern it. What do you expext for them to do besides provide essential needs and shelter? Its not like they can channel the water away like some other idiot suggested. Fact of the matter is, global warming is producing more and more H20. If you're not apart of the answer, you must be part of the problem.

    May 11, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
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