Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 
By Gabe Gutierrez

In the small community of Colyell in Livingston Parish, one extended family is recovering from a staggering loss.

Gary Wheat and 36 of his relatives lost their homes — 13 in all — spread over a 25-acre area.

"I've never seen it like this," he said. "[The water] just come up so fast. We didn’t have time to get everything out. We got what we could get. Everybody got flooded cars, houses up to the roofs. It's just bad!"

Parts of Livingston Parish have seen more than 31 inches of rain. The water has largely receded in the rural areas, but on Thursday, some of his relatives were still using a boat to reach their homes and clean up.

Related: Homeland Security Chief Visits Flood-Ravaged Louisiana as 86,000 Register for Assistance

"It's rough but we're going to be all right," said Wheat. "We're a close family. Thank God we're all here."

Meanwhile, at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, La., Tressie Moses — who is not related to Wheat — is reliving old nightmares. She was displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 when she lived in New Orleans. Now, she’d flooded out again – and doesn’t know where she’ll go.

"It’s opening up wounds," she said. "It's like I'm going back to being homeless again. I’m getting really tired of being displaced."

And in about 30 miles away in Denham Springs, Tracie Lemoine and her own family are cleaning up what’s left of their home. The water started rising quickly on Saturday and they barely made it out in time. At least four feet of water rushed into their home.

"It’s pretty hard, it really is difficult to see all this," she said. "As long as my family is okay, we're going to be okay. We're going to get through this."

Michael Plaisance pulls the trash bin through the flood waters around his home on August 17, 2016 in Sorrento, Louisiana.Joe Raedle / Getty Images