Lou Alice James was born in 1954 in Richland County, South Carolina. She has lived in her Columbia home since she was 15 years old. “It was my parents’ home before mine, so I feel lucky that my Mom left it to me.” Lou worked as a nursing assistant for four years and then as a housekeeper for around five years. She left that profession when she was physically unable to stand on a ladder due to the impacts diabetes had on her body.
On the night of the flood, Lou was staying with her sister. When they woke up the next morning, they looked out the window and a nearby man-made lake had overflowed into her sister’s yard. She was scared to return to her own home to account for the damages. When she was able to return to her house, she could smell wet sand, so she knew water had gotten into her crawlspace. She could see that the roof was starting to cave in. “It held up for a while, but then deteriorated over the past year-and-a-half because I didn’t get enough help.”
All of Lou’s defining moments have been centered on her home. Her home is where she cared for grandparents and parents, all of whom needed her given her background in nursing.
Her home is where she wrote on the wall of a closet the birthdays of all her siblings. “My Mom never knew I did that.” And her home is where her mother called her to the window one day and told her to look outside. “Pumpkin,” she said, “you don’t ever have to visit me at my grave with flowers. You gave me all my flowers while I was living.”
Now with the completion of the necessary home repairs, Lou has returned home with joyful tears claiming she may wear out the carpet walking through the house.
Watch and read more about Lou Alice’s story here at our 200th flood home celebration on the two-year anniversary of the 2015 flood.