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83-year-old man uses homemade levee, pumps to protect home

GRAND POINT - 83-year-old William Martin has seen it all in his 60 years in his Grant Point home – flooding and storms.

Knowing that Mother Nature can be cruel in south Louisiana, he’s spent 30 years perfecting a system of gauges, homemade levees and pumps to protect both his home and that of his neighbor.

This past week’s floods have had his water level gauge rise 7 inches in just the past day, and it’s still climbing.

He says he’s staying to battle the water before it comes into the only home he has.

“It would have to be something bad,” he said, when asked if he would ever leave. “I wouldn’t leave just to be leaving.”

30 years ago Martin, the father of St. James Parish Sherifff Willy Martin, started building his own levee system, several feet high around his property. He raised it four years ago when Hurricane Isaac nearly topped it.

If the water does reach his house – and it has happened twice this year already - he has a three-inch and two, two-inch pumps to push it back out.

Martin says it has all been done to preserve what he’s worked his entire life to build. “That’s all I’ve got here. That’s my life.”