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Shreveport, Keithville flood victims lose everything, hope for fed assistance

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Kate Archer Kent
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Hundreds of flood victims in Caddo Parish are waiting to find out whether the parish will be added to the seven designated in the White House declaration for emergency federal aid.

The American Red Cross in Louisiana says more than 200 flood evacuees are staying at 14 shelters across the state.

Linda Carpenter, 69, of Keithville has stayed at the Red Cross shelter at Southern University at Shreveport for almost a week. She’s undergoing cancer treatments – her sixth time battling the disease. Now, she says, it’s just her son and two chihuahuas remaining in her life.

“We don’t have a home. My trailer is gone. I don’t have any choice. There’s nothing. When the water covered my trailer and got to the top, everything in it was ruined. We left with the clothes on our backs and we got here wet,” Carpenter said.

Shreveporter Jack Hutchinson says his two-acre property got a double dose of water. It’s sandwiched between Wallace Lake and Gilmer Bayou – getting overflow from both. He and family members evacuated by boat. The 53-year-old has lived on this property for almost 40 years. The last time his trailer flooded he says he moved it to the exact specifications recommended by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and he tried to go a step further in protecting his home.

“It’s never flooded like this before and I tried to get flood insurance and was told, well, you live in a flood zone, you can’t get flood insurance -- but that’s what I need because I am in a flood zone,” Hutchinson said.

Five evacuees are staying in Southern’s gym. They say they’ll stay as long as the Red Cross will make it available. Caddo Parish sheriff Steve Prator says 250 people in the parish have reported water damage and the city of Shreveport is monitoring neighborhoods near where the Hutchinsons live by Wallace Lake, as well as Cross Lake and the Red River.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.