Thirteen years ago this month, a natural disaster resulted in millions of dollars in property damage across Southeast Alabama and Northwest Florida.
The "Great Flood of 94" had its most far-reaching and continued impact in the small Panhandle town of Caryville.
At its crest of around 29-feet, the July, 1994 flood submerged Caryville under water.
The town remains mired by the disaster. Its population dropped from 1500 residents, to under 200.
Becky Pate owned a convenience store and lost everything in the flood. However, she finally sees' hope. "I watched from my store window and saw the last house leave Caryville and cried,” she says. “It’s been real tough over the years, but now we are seeing hope."
Roger Cochran's wood carved art can be found across the country. The flood brought disaster for him as well, but now, there is hope. "It’s better here now than [in] '94. The flood got rid of a lot of junk around here. The forest has grown back, [but] not too many people."
Caryville is not just about ole-timers' and the past, it's about new people moving in and starting businesses.
Six months ago, Eva Wilson and her family moved from South Florida to Caryville. They opened a restaurant here because it's the future.
"We came here about six-months-ago and opened the restaurant,” Wilson said. “We see hope and we feel this is a great place to live."
Caryville lost most of its population following FEMA’s "buyout" of homeowners who lost everything in the '94 flood.