“My 7-year-old grandson asks me, ‘What made them do that to us, Nana?’” Tarver said. “I tell him, ‘It was nothing we did, it was just something that happened. And we thank God nobody was hurt.’”
In 2011, approximately 30 people lived in Pinhook. At its height, there were nearly 300. The village was founded by black sharecroppers in the early 1900s whose descendants continued to work the land until they were forced to leave.
It was a close-knit town where everybody knew everybody, Tarver said. Pinhook wasn’t a collection of families — it was a family.
“They were trying to accomplish having their own land,” she said of Pinhook’s founders. “They did. They settled there, they cleared the land. It was all trees, stumps and swamp. It was a place of accomplishment.”
Pinhook was founded in a time when it was difficult for African-Americans to buy decent land, and this village was no exception. Its citizens lived under the constant threat of flooding, including the first intentional breach of the levee in 1937. But nobody thought the corps would do it again.