This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The countryside seems to get emptier every time Debra Tarver visits Pinhook, the tiny village in Missouri’s Mississippi County that was her family’s home until the Army Corps of Engineers blew a big hole in the levee on May 2, 2011, allowing the rampaging Mississippi River to storm the Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway.
“I don’t come down often,” said Tarver, 55, as she surveyed acres and acres of floodway from the car window. “It’s just painful. There used to be houses all along here. They’re gone. The people are gone.”