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River's changing course threatens to swallow Denham Springs neighborhood
DENHAM SPRINGS - Several homes along the Amite River are at risk of being swallowed up by the fast-moving current. It's a problem that has escalated in the last several weeks.
LaWanda Tinsley and her husband built their dream home along the Amite River in 1998. Back then, the Amite was nowhere near as wide as it is today; in fact, it was the water that drew them to the area.
A lot has changed since then.
"That's a nightmare right now," said Tinsley.
There are five homes along the river that are now at risk of falling into the water. The land is giving way and Tinsley questions her home's stability after a professional told her that her dream home could fall into the water.
"It's not 'if' my house falls into the water but 'when' my house falls into the water," she said.
Since they built the home, the couple has lost about fifty feet of property to the river. There are trees that used to be part of her back yard that have fallen or slid into the river. They have also lost a lot of dirt, landscaping, and two months ago their back deck fell.
Tinsley says she's called everyone trying to find a solution. She says that nobody wants to help. Available grants and programs so far haven't been a help. Tinsley doesn't qualify for a program that offers a buyout because their home has only flooded once. Criteria for that program says the home has to flood at least three times.
"I said, 'well, by the time it floods three times it's going to be in the river,'" said Tinsley.
The Amite's course is changing by her property. The river's path is moving, coming through the trees across from her home. It's something Tinsley says wasn't supposed to happen for another decade, but her fear is that it will push all the rushing water toward her and her neighbors.
"It's just a matter of time and time is something we do not have," she said.
Until she finds an answer to her troubles, the whole ordeal will continue to keep her up at night.
As for the cost of a possible fix, Tinsley was given an estimate of a half a million dollars.
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