Flood victim remembers her scattered community - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Flood victim remembers her scattered community

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July 6, 2004

Albany - The 1994 Flood dramatically changed the landscape of many neighborhoods. None changed more the Washington Homes in downtown Albany. The flood turned the community into nothing but memories. It was never rebuilt.

Fannie Mallory reminisces about the old neighborhood. "Everybody raised everybody's children. It was a joy." Now an empty lot, Washington Homes was once packed with families. "If something happened next door you knew about it," said Mallory.

Mallory raised her three children at Washington Homes and never wanted to leave, but in July of 1994 Tropical Storm Alberto hit Southwest Georgia. "I didn't want to believe it." The water started rising, but Mallory didn't want to leave. "I had seen it flood many times and never get to me. So, I said 'I ain't going anywhere now.' My niece keep begging me to come go with her."

Mallory's niece gave in, but a knock at the door early the next morning forced Mallory to change her mind about leaving. "They knocked at the door saying 'Get up, you got to get out right now.'" She had just a few hours to pack up her home.

She and her neighbors evacuated just in time. "We came back about 5:00 that afternoon, and it had reached up to the middle part of the window." Mallory immediately knew she had just lost more than her home. "I don't believe I ever had anything more miserable. Not just the flood, though I don't want to see that again, but the lose of the family we had out here with each other was like losing the family at my house."

Sinkholes made the land unsafe for houses. The apartment complex was torn down. For 10 years, the once busy neighborhood sat silent and barren Until last month, when a groundbreaking made way for bulldozers and construction crews. The land will soon be a First Tee Golf Course, a place for children to learn to play golf for free.

Mallory says she's excited about seeing children once again enjoying the riverfront property. "You can't enjoy the houses, but you can enjoy watching the young people doing something out here." A good future for a site that evoked memories of a painful past.

Now, Mallory spends her days gardening outside her Sherman Oaks apartment. Her old neighbors scattered. Some still live in Albany and others left. But, she says she'll always remember the neighborhood, the family that used to be.

The Albany Housing Authority found Fannie Mallory a temporary apartment about a week after her apartment flooded. But, some others in Washington Homes didn't get relocated for more than a year.

Posted at 9:51PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com