Canyon Gate Heroes: Giving Up Seats on the Rescue Boats

How the Boudreaux family gave up their rescue boat seats time and again. 

 

KATY MAGAZINE I October, 2017  

Katrina Katsarelis and Tiffany Lanza    

Photography by Tiffany Lanza   

Becky and Nathan Bourdeaux started hearing rumblings of impending floods in their neighborhood and decided to evacuate before orders were issued. The family lived in the far back (east circle) of Canyon Gate. They had reached out to a few neighbors, some were in single stories, to come hunker down with them, and their three sons, on their second floor. Even though evacuation orders had not been issued, the group realized they needed to get out. High water was blocking both exits of the neighborhood and streets were flooding. Soon the realized water was coming in their home. 

 

 

When they called for help, they were told they were far down on the list with the national guard and other rescuers. After several attempts to find help, they found someone who was willing to try to save them and their neighbors. But with their home so far back in the neighborhood, they were not finding a way to access those back homes. Rescuers were not getting all the way back there. 

 

We kept getting texts that if we didn't get to the Canyon Gate Recreation Center in the neighborhood that we would not get saved," says Becky. So the Boudreaux family and their hunkered down house guests, including two elderly women, ventured outside to begin their journey through water that was now up their lower stomachs.

 

Stronger together

"I did not know how we would get the elderly ladies through the water the 3/4 of a mile to the Recreation Center, but we had to try. Becky put her three boys ages 11, 12, and 14, in front of her holding onto each other, while one of the elderly women who did not know how to swim, held onto Becky's shoulders.  Becky had her purse, a bag, and the family dog in her arms. Their neighbors helped the second elderly lady (their mother) in a similar way. Nathan carried the neighbors belongings and led the group checking that the path was safe to walk ahead of the group's steps, watching for lost manhole covers, debris, and wild animals. 

  

The Boudreaux boys Trent, 15, Carson, 12, and Zachary, 11 waited with their parents, cold and wet, while others more needy took their rescue boat spots. 

 

Rocky resting place

After trudging along for some time in the water, the group finally came upon a rocky area that was on a bit higher ground. They waited there and soon rescuers started coming. When they saw rescue boats coming, they started hollering to other neighbors to come out too. As neighbors appeared, the Boudreaux family realized these people needed to be rescued first.

 

You go first 

Time and again, the Boudreax family gave up their seats. "Everyone else was coming now and some of them had babies and small children, and some were elderly" says Becky. "Even though we have three children there was no way that we were getting on a boat before the babies and elderly people were able to get on."  So the Boudreaux family and their three sons waited in the rain and water.

 

In total, their journey took out of Canyon Gate took 5 1/2 hours. "Just because you're in a dire situation doesn't mean you stop doing what's right," says Becky. "It was a very long cold journey but we were glad to be safe."

 

Update on the family

All of the neighbors they helped got out of Canyon Gate safely. The homes were majorly flooded and will not be habitable anytime soon. The Boudreaux's are very grateful that a kindhearted hostess offered space in her home in Kelliwood Place. "We are so grateful for Lynell Rogeri for allowing us to stay in her beautiful home," says Becky. "She has shown us such kindness and support by taking on a family of five, especially one with three teenage boys." 

 

Katrina Katsarelis is the editor-in-chief of Katy Magazine. 

 

 

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