You are here

Voices from the Flood

Voices from the Flood header

In 2019, well over half a million acres flooded in Mississippi’s lower Delta. It was a combination of relentless rain in the region and epic runoff from states higher upriver. The floodwaters remained for more than seven months, depriving local residents of their homes and their livelihoods.

But there is much more to the story, and those who came through the catastrophe—many of whom lost their homes and everything in them—believe it could have been prevented.

With their help, we present this five-part series, “Voices from the Flood.”

About the project

To document the experiences of people who lived through this historic event, the MSU Extension Office of Agricultural Communications conducted interviews to create an oral history project. With guidance from special collections experts at the MSU Mitchell Memorial Library and boots-on-the-ground help from Extension agents Emily Carter (Sharkey/Issaquena counties) and Sandy Havard (Warren County), the team gathered video footage, interview transcripts, photographs, and historical information from 19 local residents. The project’s files will be stored permanently at the library and made available to researchers.

Because these stories had not been told in the local or national media, videographer Brian Utley worked with Farmweek producers Mike Russell and Zac Ashmore to create a 5-part series, “Voices from the Flood,” that shares the often harrowing experiences of these Delta residents and examines the economic and personal effects of the crisis.


Voices From The Flood 1 | A Complicated Story
August 20, 2020

Part 1: A Complicated Story

In 2019, Mississippi’s lower Delta experienced an unprecedented backwater flood. Many of the residents who struggled through the seven months of flooding felt the disaster could have been prevented. This story is the first of the five-part series examining what happened—and we’ll hear from some of those who lived through the catastrophe. Watch this video for part one of “Voices from the Flood.”

Voices From The Flood 2 | A Perfect Storm
August 27, 2020

Part 2: The Perfect Storm

In this account, we go deeper into the heartbreaking chronicle of how—as the flood waters were still rising—residents had no choice but to give up and leave their homes. Here is part two of “Voices from the Flood.”

Voices From The Flood 3 | The Economic Loss
September 3, 2020

Part 3: The Economic Loss

This installment presents more about the economic losses these folks suffered in the massive flooding of Mississippi’s lower Delta in 2019. Some of those losses are obvious: homes, everything in them, crops destroyed or never planted. But there were other losses, too — which came to light in this emotional and complicated story. Here is part three of “Voices from the Flood.”

Voices From The Flood 4 | The Hidden Costs
September 10, 2020

Part 4: The Hidden Costs

Here we examine the hidden costs of that 100-year flood in Mississippi’s lower Delta in 2019. Besides the obvious costs of a catastrophe like this one, there are other losses no one thinks or knows about. In this episode, flood victims team up with experts to uncover the true costs of this disaster. This is part four of “Voices from the Flood.”

Voices From The Flood 5 | A Community Rising
September 17, 2020

Part 5: A Community Rising

Previous parts of this series have focused on the widespread—and preventable—destruction of the massive flooding of Mississippi’s South Delta. But we end on a positive note. In this final story, in their own words, these Mississippians talk about resilience and the human spirit—about gratitude for people coming together to help their neighbors. This is part five and the conclusion of “Voices from the Flood.”

Voices From The Flood | Origin of the Series
September 24, 2020

Voices From The Flood: Origin of the Series

A behind-the-scenes look at the making of “Voices from the Flood.”

Video Archive