The once-proud African-American community in Mississippi County was destroyed during the activation of the BPNMF.
Devastated when the United States Army Corps on Engineer fatally decided to activate the flood-way 2204 Hours on May 2, 2011.
By order of Major General John Walsh under the auspices of the law of 1928.
Walsh had stated for days leading up to the historical event that he would consider activation as required by Law and the Mississippi River Commission’s Operational Plan if “the gage hit 61 at Cairo and the system was degrading.”
It did. And was. And, the Corp did what residents felt they wished to do all along. Blow the Levee. In fact, the headline I wrote said just that. “They Did It”
Questions; concern and dilemmic issues remain. But, the plan was activated. Conducted to specs – even with serious difficulty at times – but did so to move the crest of the flooding waters to the Gulf.
Birds Point was the first domino that year. Bonnet Caret and Morganza would follow in the flood to beat all flood on the Mighty Mississippi. Marking the first time that all three floodways on the river were activated at the same time. Epic Historic. And, the Flood started here.
The plan would be followed. With slight adjustments on the fly after dispensing too much slurry in the first blast that rattled windows for miles and reverberated for 4-states all while broadcast Live on TV. People in Mississippi County – who weren’t us amongst us dummies on top the Levee – saw the blast before feeling it, too. It was thunderous.
As I wrote in the May 3, 2011 Enterprise Courier …
“the deafening thud felt throughout my soul told me what just happened…though it occurred before my eyes…”
Adding further, that, in the May, 10 edition of the East Prairie Eagle
…”we still have our Lives. They may be altered dramatically as we deal with the Flood of Record. But, they’re still playing baseball with the Eagles topping of Risco and the Blue Jays ringing up a pair of W’s over top flight teams this week. So, you see, normalcy will come.
Until then, stay safe, stay dry and Godspeed everyone…”
Meanwhile, fast forward to August 2015
This is the Human toll.
The residents of the town have moved on with their Lives as best as they can from the fallout of the flooding. It literally destroyed a close-knit historic settlement. Many have relocated with families. All have left. Although I did not grow up in Pinhook, it has always been a part of my Life through school and social interaction with the people of the community. Fortunate to still call many friends today.
The Williams’ Family. The Robinson’s. And, Many other families I went to school and grew up with. They were a welcome addition to the Eagle sports teams through the decades.
So, it is with sadness that Thursday, Aug, 6, at 8 am. what is left of the shackled and drowned out house and refuse from the central meeting place of the community – Pinhook School – will be hauled away forever.
History will reveal it destroyed as a consequence of the devastating Flood of Record in 2011.
It was settled in the 1920s by sharecroppers. The community was hit by water after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers caused a breach in the Bird’s Point Levee to save the town of Cairo, Illinois. Because of that, the former residents resettled in East Prairie and Sikeston.
During the Summer of 2011 the Mississippi began to flood and didn’t stop.
There has been talk of relocating the community as a whole, but funding and location still remain huge obstacles to overcome.
Progress is painful sometime but going back – literally on that ground was impossible. Apparently. Some resident have groused over their treatment by Federal and State officials. Most are understanding and practical in dealing with the future.
We wish them well and empathize with their melancholy memories.
Below is a KpPhotos Visual Depiction of Pinhook