Residential flooding
Damage from flooding in a residential neighborhood in 2002. (Photo credit: FEMA)

Amanda Rideaux did not want to sell the home where she’d lived for thirteen years. But the memories of floodwaters rising were too much for her two young sons.

In mid-August 2016, heavy rains hit their Louisiana parish dropping thirty inches of water. Rideaux was at work when her older son called:

Rideaux: “He said ‘Mama, Daddy wants me to tell you that there’s water in our bedrooms,’ and I said ‘Well, what do you mean, honey?’ and he said, ‘Well, it’s coming through the walls.'”

The family evacuated to safety, but the experience was frightening.

Rideaux: “It was a hard day. It was a hard day for all of us.”

Rideaux’s five-year-old son struggled the most – even after the family renovated the house and moved back home.

Rideaux: “When we’d pick him up from school in the afternoons, he would just cry and not want to go back to the house. We realized that we couldn’t fix it even with counseling and therapy and so we just recently moved.”

Psychologists have found that extreme weather events put children at risk of PTSD, depression, and anxiety. So mental health impacts can linger long after the floodwaters are gone.

Rideaux: “It’s a form of trauma that I can never take away from my children’s lives. They’re going to have that in their memory forever now.”

Reporting credit: Ariel Hansen/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Topics: Health