Full-time student and mom loses home in flood

Published 8:40 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2012

By Desiree Taylor

Concordia College Alabama


“This is the hardest thing I ever had to deal with,” Concordia student and mom Carletta Jones said, as her eyes began to well up with tears. “Never in my life … it’s just so hard, it’s like the closer I’m getting to my goal to graduate it gets harder.”

When flash floods devastated the city of Selma Labor Day weekend, many residents found themselves surrounded by water and without electricity, as they tried to salvage their belongings and find dry land.

For Jones, a full-time student and mother of two, Sept. 3 seemed like a normal day.

“I was sitting in the living room doing laundry; I tried to get up to turn off appliances when the tree fell [into her living room]. It sounded like a car had crashed into my house,” Jones said in disbelief, wiping the tears. “I was in shock; I was like, ‘Oh my God, what was that noise?’ I was frozen – I couldn’t move.”

Jones said water then came rushing into her home from everywhere – from the windows, ceilings to the walls. Even the floor tile had been elevated due to the water pressure.

“Through my door I saw parts of the branches throughout the living room,” Jones said. “I couldn’t see no light or night – nothing but tree. I could see the sky through my roof; I was scared.

“It took me at least five minutes to dial 911,” Jones said. “I yelled for my neighbors, and they rescued me from my backyard. I then heard the police and emergency sirens.”

Since the flooding on Sept. 3, Jones has been displaced – living with friends and in a local hotel, thanks to generous donations from local churches, school administrators and the American Red Cross.

With no home insurance, the damage will cost Jones roughly $10,000 – a burden too much for Jones to bear.

“I’ll have to fix my roof, porch, walls, ceilings, floors and furniture,” Jones said, who’s maintained a level head and straight A’s in her coursework despite the crisis. “The house was so sentimental to me because my grandmother left it to me. It’s rough.”

For Jones, who also works part time for the Selma City School System, it’s a day-to-day process.

“It’s [the hotel] $55 a day,” Jones said. “It’s hard and I just don’t have it. I’ve contacted every organization, every person I could think of … I feel homeless – alone, with no place to go; even through all of this, I’m just trying to keep my head up in the midst of it all.”