Floodfest Postponed by Rain
By: CJ Cassidy
Commerce, MO - Folks in one Southeast Missouri town understand the devastation flooding can do, as they watch the damage Katrina and Rita caused.
During the flood of '95, residents of Commerce experienced widespread losses. Still many people opted not to go with the federal buyout, and instead roughed it out.
The annual Floodfest is a celebration of the struggles folks overcame in Commerce. "It's a morale booster and celebration of surviving the flood of '95 and town looks forward to it every year," Bill Bailey, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, explains.
Ten years after the flood of '95 they have more to be thankful for than they ever expected. "We have historic buildings, that we can capitalize on nowadays," Bailey points out.
But memories of struggles to beat invading floodwaters have not faded away. "We just did what we had to do, everyone gathered together sandbagged did whatever we had to do to take care of the situation," Ann Huck, who chaired the board of trustees back in '95 says. She was so determined to stay in her hometown, she had her entire house moved up a hill.
Depsite the floods, the town still has no flood wall or levee. But Huck understands exactly why most residents argue against them. "You would always have to pump out rain water and seep water that would have been an expense," she says.
Residents we talked with don't ever expect to see a floodwall built in Commerce. Besides the added cost they also point out the view of the Mighty Mississippi also adds to the scenic value of the river and a floodwall would take away from the value of the rivertown. "Everybody wants to be able to drive down and see the river. That's about all you can see in Commerce," Huck says.