In La. Parish, one man's decision to face the floods

Published online: May 22, 2011 News
Viewed 1179 time(s)

Flood waters are heading towards the small community of Butte La Rose, La., and the parish government there has ordered residents to evacuate. Host Scott Simon talks with Tucker Friedman, owner of Turtle's Bar in Butte La Rose, on his plans to stay behind.


A little bit down river from Krotz Springs, there's the small community of Butte La Rose. The floodwaters are headed that way, too. The parish government has ordered residents to evacuate. Tucker Friedman lives just outside of Butte La Rose on his houseboat, which he keeps docked next to his bar, Turtles. And we've reach him there.

Mr. Friedman, thanks for being with us.

Mr. TUCKER FRIEDMAN (Bar Owner, Turtles): My pleasure.

SIMON: Do you plan on leaving?

Mr. FRIEDMAN: No. We live on a houseboat, and we just installed a new electrical service above 29 feet, above sea level. So we have electrical power, no matter what happens. But we've moved everything out the building. We relocated our bait store into a houseboat that we have here that we were renovating, and we were fortunate to have it. Eventually, the water will get to the bar, though, and get in the parking lot, and people won't be able to get to it. So then we'll be shut down for some time.

SIMON: Any customers there at Turtle's, your bar?

Mr. FRIEDMAN: We plan on opening all weekend. We still have a little bit of parking lot left, so we'll - this probably be our last weekend for a couple of weeks. And it could be two weeks, it could be two months. It depends on how long the water stays. Once - soon as the water recedes, we'll resume.

SIMON: And you've been able to get your beer in?

Mr. FRIEDMAN: Well, the delivery stopped. I've been having to run to the local grocery store to buy enough to make it through each night, and I don't buy any more than we need for the night, because I don't know how much longer we'll be able to operate. But, you know, we're trying to stretch it out as far as we can because it's kind of rough. The bills keep coming in, and no revenue coming in now.

SIMON: Mr. Friedman, is this just - does this just come with the territory of living there where you do?

Mr. FRIEDMAN: Yeah. Well, I mean, when, you know, when you live inside the levee, you know, you live with the threat. And we all know it could happen. It happened in '73. We had high water here. We had five foot of water in the building, here, and that's part of it, where we're kind of the sacrificial lamb for Baton Rouge and New Orleans when they opened the Morganza, and it's to try to save the bulk of the population.

SIMON: And may I ask, Mr. Friedman, why do you live there?

Mr. FRIEDMAN: Well, we live off the basin. We do swamp tours here, and we have a marina here and we have a bait-and-tackle store. And we make, you know, we -it's not a living that you get rich at, but it's a good life. It's hard work. It's a good place to raise a family, and it's just beautiful being out here, you know. And it makes it all worthwhile.

SIMON: Yeah. And in the rising waters, do you have to worry about snakes and...

Mr. FRIEDMAN: We have a few resident gators that stay behind our marina here, and a lot of them are actually here in the yard right now. There's a big alligator laying, I'm watching right now looking out in the backyard, on the border. There's a big 'ole alligator just laying out in the yard.

SIMON: Well, give them whatever they want, on us, please.


(Soundbite of laughter)

SIMON: Tucker Friedman, speaking from Turtle's, his bar just outside of Butte La Rose, Louisiana.

Good luck to you, Mr. Friedman.

Mr. FRIEDMAN: All right. We sure thank you.

(Soundbite of music)

SIMON: Another round for the gator. You're listening to NPR News.



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