CARTER, MS (WLBT) - Just about anyone who lived in Yazoo County seven years ago will never forget the Great Flood of 2011. The Mississippi River rose to historic levels, flooding farmland and homes all over the Delta.
Ed Jordan and his family have lived on about 3,500 acres in the Carter community north of Yazoo City all his life. He is the third generation of his family to farm the land - planting cotton, corn and soybeans. When the water started rising in May of 2011, he knew his land and his home were in danger of flooding.
“East of the Whittington Channel and west of the Yazoo River, it’s just a sump hole,” Jordan says. “Everything gets backed up this way.”
Jordan and his wife packed up their belongings and moved temporarily to a rented home in Madison County. To save their home, Jordan called a friend in construction and built a levee all the way around it to keep it dry. Similar levees went up around his relatives' homes nearby.
Their strategy worked. Jordan’s house and the others were spared, but their farmland, much of it with freshly-planted crops, was swamped. Jordan estimates his crop losses to be as much as $1 million. But reflecting on those soggy days, he says they were some of the lucky ones.
“Farm-wise, as the water went down, we had to go in and try to re-plant what we could,” he says. "We lost a lot of corn, but we came back with some soybeans where we could. And cotton. Turned out we had a pretty good crop after all was said and done.”
His family’s old general store, built in the early 20th Century, also flooded and was never quite the same. But like many others who’ve been in Yazoo County all their lives, the Jordans can’t imagine moving.
“It’s home," he says. "We grew up here and have all our history here. My family’s here. My parents are still living across the street."
Jordan retired from planting last December as the fifth generation of his extended family steps in to keep working the same land. He knows a flood could happen again, but he’s hopeful it won’t be in his lifetime.
“I don’t want to go through another one," he says with a chuckle. "I hope I don’t see it again.”
Previous stories about the Jordans of Carter: