Eric Dowding

Eric Dowding lives along Brays Bayou and has flooded three times, including during Hurricane Harvey. Dowding moved to Houston after he met his wife. The first flood he experienced was the Memorial Day flood in 2015. Before this, his house had never flooded in the nearly sixty years after its construction. During this flood, his house received twelve inches of water, and the house was completely renovated.

Dowding’s house flooded again during the 2016 Tax Day flood, which was not as severe but required another round of renovations. Dowding says it was easier to repair the damage the second time because he already knew who to call and what needed to be done. He and his wife decided if they flooded again, they would move. He recalls not being worried about Harvey, and that he moved items above what he expected the flood level to be to protect them. He received about two feet of water and the preparations did not work. Dowding explains that he was not scared by the water but his wife, who cannot swim, was terrified. He says it was not too difficult to lose items during Harvey, as so much had already been lost in previous floods. The water stayed in the house for about twenty-four hours, and during the storm, he was bombarded with news alerts on his phone. At one point, Dowding, his wife, and a couple neighbors moved onto the roof to escape rising waters. From the roof, Dowding remembers watching civilian rescuers, the Cajun Navy, ride up and down his street in boats, something he described as exciting. About a year after the flood, Dowding’s neighborhood remained half empty, as many residents decided not to return. Dowding’s wife’s family gave them a place to stay during the flood and provided emotional support during the recovery. Dowding strongly recommends that everyone, regardless of if they live in a flood plain or not, get flood insurance. At the end of the conversation, Dowding talks about how he is planning on raising his house onto pillars to protect it from floods, and that the prospect of taking on another mortgage, to pay for the construction, at age sixty is daunting.