Surviving Abuse and Floods


First I Had to Survive My Husband Stabbing Me 42 Times. Then I Had to Survive the Louisiana Floods.

Deborah Harris was just getting her life back on track when horror struck for a second time in one year.

This story contains extended descriptions of graphic violence.

Around 8 p.m. on August 13, 2016, Deborah Harris woke up and realized her mattress was wet. That’s when her 17-year-old son Daniel rushed in shouting, “Mama, we gotta get you out!”

Flood water was pouring into their Baton Rouge home so quickly that Daniel and her oldest son Nathan, 20, had to think fast. Harris can’t get around without a walker and a cane, so they scooped her up and carried her into the back of a truck. The rest of the family and friends living with them piled in—nine in total, plus the family’s four dogs.

But water gushed around the truck at speeds they couldn’t fathom, flooding the engine and preventing their escape. They were stranded in front of their house, watching as the water kept rising. Daniel and Nathan rushed to rescue their three cats from the attic while Harris frantically dialed 911 over and over and over.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana after the mid-August floods