2019 - Ongoing
For nearly six months in 2019, the lower Mississippi Delta flooded due to monumental rainfall and a historically high Mississippi River — combined with the key factor of drainage pumps blocked by the Environmental Protection Agency out of fear of destroying a neighboring wetland forest. Roughly 500,000 acres of land remained under stagnant water that had nowhere to go without the pumps.
In unprecedented fashion, the region flooded again in 2020, sounding the alarm for many conservative residents that climate change is real. Agriculture is the regional lifeblood, and the flooding has presented immense challenges to local farmers and businesses. With COVID-19 presenting additional trials to one of Mississippi’s poorest regions, survival has become a real struggle.
The one iconic eatery in the area is Chuck’s Dairy Bar in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. Chuck’s has been a mainstay for generations, feeding farming families and serving as a meeting place where locals stay connected. For many impacted by the floods, the restaurant is the only gathering point around where they can stay fed, while simultaneously supporting each other through the growing obstacles.
Chuck's is a rare enduring fixture in an area that has faced two years of natural disaster, followed by a pandemic, followed by an economic disaster. With continued imbalance in 2021, Chuck's remains the one constant in a place faced by unparalleled changes.