In flood-hit Louisiana town, 'I lost everything' becomes painful refrain

DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (Reuters) - With floodwaters engulfing her home in Denham Springs, Louisiana, over the weekend, Dana Dillon swam to her front door to rescue her cats and found furniture floating in chest-deep water.

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“I lost everything,” Dillon said on Tuesday, “I lost my car, I lost my trailer.”

She was able to save her cats.

As the floodwaters receded, Dillon was one of many in the city of about 10,000 people east of Baton Rouge who found their homes were destroyed by what has been described as record flooding in the Southern U.S. state. The deluge also left large parts of Denham Springs underwater.

About 90 percent of the homes in Denham Springs took on water, local news reports said, adding few residents had flood insurance.

Glynn Moore returned on Tuesday to survey the damage to her small, white house, with a tin roof. The structure was raised on bricks about 5 feet off the ground.

“It’s just amazing,” Moore said as she walked down a neighborhood street littered with debris, flood-damaged cars and fences ripped apart. “It just came up so quick.”

Floods hit her neighborhood on Friday, but the family stayed at the house as initial levels receded. Floods came again on Saturday and when the water was thigh-deep outside and approaching the porch, the family evacuated.

Nearby, an outdoor deck swept away by floodwaters came to rest atop a white picket fence, turned brown by the muddy water. The smell of stagnant water and floating garbage filled the air.

Statewide, at least nine people have died in the flooding that damaged about 40,000 homes, officials said. Almost all the homes in Denham Springs were without power as of Tuesday.

At Christ Community Church a few miles from the Moore residence, national guardsmen, fire officials and church members helped a few dozen residents with their medical needs and supplied them with food and clothing.

About 1,000 people came through the church on Saturday when homes first took on significant amounts of water and the Federal Emergency Management Agency set up tables to help residents register for federal aid.

“I’ve never seen it this bad,” said Moore’s daughter Aisha, adding the house had been with the family for more than 60 years.

Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Peter Cooney