When the Levee Breaks

In preparing for this trip, Doug had run across several mentions of a big flood back in the '20s. The guy at Hirsberg's store said the levee had never broken here. Various other people around confirmed the same thing. (According to Fodor's Rock & Roll Traveler USA, p. 117, it did break just north of Greenville, MS, on April 21, 1927, at Mount Landing. Greenville was under water for 10 weeks, inspiring Bessie Smith's "Backwater Blues" and Memphis Minnie's "When the Levee Breaks," which Led Zeppelin helped make famous.)

running up the levee slope

Doug and Alex running up to the top of the levee.

The Mississippi River levee is longer and taller than the Great Wall of China (Mississippi off the Beaten Path, p. 69)

pickup on leveetop road

This is the other side of the levee. As you can see, there's no water here. Turns out that in this particular spot, there's another levee further over by the river, keeping the water away from here. Signs down by those trees on the left said NO TRESPASSING, so we hailed a passing pickup (that's a dirt road along the top of the levee, and several cars and trucks passed by while we hung around) and asked where we might be able to see the river.

The guy in the pickup was (again) very friendly, and he told us we could probably just go down through the posted area and find the river right there (he said we didn't need to worry about trespassing). But he also told us of a spot a little further up, where we could drive all the way over the levee and get much closer to the river. We got further instructions from the guy in Hirsberg's, and away we went.

Friar's Point . . . Mississippi Levee . . . Mississippi River

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