2 Years Ago, A Flash Flood Destroyed Her Business. Now It's Happened Again05:49
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Utility workers check the power lines on Main Street after Sunday's floodwaters that raged down the downtown district in Ellicott City, Md., Tuesday, May 29, 2018. (Courtney Columbus/AP)
Utility workers check the power lines on Main Street after Sunday's floodwaters that raged down the downtown district in Ellicott City, Md., Tuesday, May 29, 2018. (Courtney Columbus/AP)

Torrential rain triggered deadly floods this week across the South, including in Ellicott City, Maryland, where a National Guardsman died when a wall of water came rushing down Main Street.

Here & Now's Peter O'Dowd speaks with Angie Tersiguel (@atersiguel), an Ellicott City resident and owner of Tersiguel's French Country Restaurant on Main Street, about the latest flash flood, the second in two years.

Interview Highlights

On how the flooding has impacted the restaurant

"Our basement took on just about 70 inches of water. So I'm regularly looking at mud-splashed walls, our wine cooler is on its side, refrigerator and freezer are floating in water, linens soaked in mud. It's a little overwhelming.

"I thought when I closed the lid on the box that said 'flood 2016,' we were putting this behind us. And we really did just close that box about four months ago, with wrapping up paperwork and tax forms and tax credits and unemployment insurance. And on Monday, we were given 10 minutes to be in the building, and it was the very first thing that I got out."

"I thought when I closed the lid on the box that said 'flood 2016,' we were putting this behind us."

Angie Tersiguel

On having to lay off staff

"We laid off everybody on Monday. ... It's painful. We have one employee that's worked for our family for 35 years, and this is the second time in two years I've made that call. And on Sunday we had a 16-year-old girl in our building with our staff, and all I kept thinking was, 'What are her mom and dad thinking?' It's hard. We have a small staff, and we're close and they're like family. And to make those calls is heartbreaking. And then every single person said, 'When the time comes, we want to help clean up.' "

On if officials should have done more to adapt after the 2016 flood

"I think about it all the time. We've had several flash flood warnings since the 2016 flood. And every time I've always thought, 'I have to put faith and trust in these officials.' But you can't stop 10 inches of rain in three hours. And some of the projects set forth could take 10 years."

On thinking about whether it would be worth it to potentially rebuild a third time

"I do think that. The position is a little bit different for us. We own our building, she was built in 1890, and she's really structurally sound, and it's not so easy to walk away from that. And our restaurant has been there since 1990, and we've been on Main Street since 1975. And I have said a few times, I'm the rainbow unicorn of this rebuild, because I just ... I'm just going to keep moving forward. It's like, at this point in time, we've come too far. We can't go back. So if this happens a third time, we might be having a different conversation."

This segment aired on June 1, 2018.

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