JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It was a smelly mess in parts of Jackson County Monday as people scrambled to clean up their waterlogged homes.
Jackson County emergency leaders estimate that between 500 to 600 homes in the Helena community were flooded in them. Several homeowners in one neighborhood said they never saw this coming.
The neighborhood around Edge Cliff Drive was one of the hardest hit areas. The stench of standing water filled the air and just about every home had a pile of soiled furniture and soggy belongings in the yard.
It was not the kind of family gathering Rita Roell had in mind for Labor Day.
"My daughter has a boat," said Roell. "We were going to go out on a boat and barbeque and swim. Have a nice day."
Instead, Roell's children and grandchildren pitched in to pull out carpeting, drywall, and anything that Hurricane Isaac's flood waters touched.
"Oh God, it's awful! It is awful! We did it in [Hurricane] Georges and I don't think I ever want to do this again," said Roell. "We're going to manage to salvage a little bit of the furniture. We thought we were able to save stuff and we put stuff up, but we got higher water than we expected."
Steve Nelson also spent the holiday mucking out his mother's house.
"It's a little bit sentimental. You pull all this stuff out, got a couple of pictures that I guess were on the floor," said Nelson.
The house took on six inches of water. Nelson said the house had never flooded like this before.
"This is the first time in 40 years," said Nelson.
When asked if he was surprised by Isaac's floodwaters, he replied, "Yes, I'm surprised. It could have been the floodgates in Big Creek when they opened it, and the Escatawpa River just didn't have the capacity and it backed up."
They'll leave the flooding questions for another day. For now, they're just focused on drying out, cleaning up, and starting over.
"We're going to fix the house and get her moved back in and she'll be fine. We'll all be fine," said Nelson.
Neighbors said it will take a few more days to remove all the ruined belongings so repairs can begin. One family said church members are coming in this week to help with the clean-up.