MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - There's a small patch of people in southwest Memphis who say their neighborhood is different, and not in a good way. The area was flooded last year when the Mississippi hit near record levels. A once quiet neighborhood is now a decimated neighborhood, and some say city leaders just don't care about them.
The tourists don't come to this neighborhood. The only reason to be here is if you live here, or know somebody who does. This place did have one visitor that stayed far too long, the water.
The water invaded Memphis almost a year ago when the Mississippi was bulging at the seams. It was so full that rivers that normally flowed into the Mississippi started running backwards. There was no where for the water to go so a lot of it ended up here.
Patrick Smith still remembers the filthy water covering the neighborhood. He sees the vacant homes. The days when he almost forgets are the days the mosquitoes come pay a visit. They remained long after the water went away.
The water, at first, was just a curiosity, but it rose quickly. Everybody had to evacuate.
The politicians never came here. Diane Sawyer didn't yank on hip waders to report on the slow drowning of this neighborhood. The cops blocked off the streets for a few days, and then when the water left they did too.
Now there are vacant homes where people once lived. The folks who remain make jokes about what happened.
"We better off with them," laughed Vern Jenkins.
Jenetta Wilson sits on her porch and says her neighborhood has been destroyed. She's lived here since 1949. Wilson made headlines last year because she refused to leave her home, which was surrounded by flood water. Officials forced her to leave.
That's when things started to change, she says.
"I should have stayed here. They spoiled all my food. They cut off my utilities and all of my food was ruined. And they didn't give me anything."
She has her house, she has her health, and she has her family. They are the only things that really keep her going.
The woman people in the neighborhood called 'Miss Jenetta' now surveys a place where the ruins of the May floods surround her. The houses ruined were supposed to be demolished by the owners, but they still stand as waterlogged memories when this place was full of life.
"We've lived our life here for 50 years. I've been here on this all. And all my children raised up, they grown and gone. And so I'm here. And you don't have anywhere else to go."
One of the vacant houses has burned down, and Jenetta Wilson is afraid that others will as well.
The city is fighting with the owners of the vacant homes to get them to demolish the properties.