Red River

Kate Archer Kent

The director of the Red River Watershed Management Institute returned to his research lab Tuesday, once flood waters receded. It was Gary Hanson’s first look since water surrounded the building and edged up the side of the levee. The LSU Shreveport water research facility was built between the water and levee on purpose.

“We cut the power before the flood just in case,” Hanson said, flicking on the lights and breathing a sigh of relief.

Kate Archer Kent

Lake Bistineau in northwest Louisiana is above flood stage and has just reopened to boats. The lake is connected to the Red River via Loggy Bayou. Lake manager David Jett is tracking a slow and steady decline in the lake level over the past two days. He’s seen a bigger Bistineau.

“Oh my goodness, I’ve seen it much higher than this. In fact, it was higher than this back in the early spring. In 2009, if I recall correctly, the lake level went up to 147 feet,” Jett said.

Kate Archer Kent

More than 100 bee colonies have perished in the Red River flood. Local beekeepers say this will greatly reduce the amount of honey produced in North Louisiana in the coming months. William Hummer owns Hummer and Son Honey Farm in Bossier City. He’s lost about 20 percent of his operation. Flood waters inundated 100 colonies.

“Normally we should be pulling honey in and just be tired, sweaty and sticky. Now we’re pulling a little honey in and building up more colonies at the same time,” Hummer said.

The Red River is expected to crest later this week just shy of flood stage in Shreveport and Alexandria. But it’s flooding at points between, including Coushatta and Grand Ecore, according to Colin Brown, engineering supervisor for the Natchitoches-based Red River Waterway Commission. He said Monday river conditions are deteriorating.

History Matters commentator Gary Joiner traces the ownership of a valuable tract of land next to the Red River -- from cotton fields to sprawling military air base.

History Matters is made possible in part by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities and Louisiana Cultural Vistas Magazine