BATON ROUGE, La. - A local pastor is saying an extra prayer tonight - his daughter and her family call Baton Rouge home. The family is safe, but their home sustained major damage in the flooding.
The pastor's son-in-law is still in Louisiana, assessing damage.
"On Friday, when it first started flooding that morning, so many people's houses who were in the flood plains started filling up," said Ben Workman. "Then Saturday morning, it kind of hit all of the other areas."
Ben Workman and his family went out and got sandbags as the waters approached their home and moved their vehicles to higher ground.
"Some were still thinking it wouldn't enter the houses," Workman said, "but it just kept rising."
Workman and his wife started putting away important documents and photos trying to keep everything dry. "It finally reached the doors and the windows and was getting into the house," Workman said.
At that point, their mind-set changed. Things can be replaced. They knew they had to get out. Their church was just down the street and had a second floor, so they made a break for it.
"It was waist deep there in the parking lot. We started emptying people out of the neighborhood into the church," Workman said. "We actually put my grandfather in a trash can and floated him across."
By the time they got more than 30 family members and neighbors in to the church, the water had risen to their chests. They scavenged for food and were hunkered down until they were rescued around 5 a.m. Sunday morning.
They were taken to higher grounds and are now safe, but their home is ruined.
"The reason this is so devastating is it's hitting all of these homes that aren't in the flood plains and they don't have flood insurance," Workman said.
FEMA has declared a national disaster.
"But that doesn't do much when you've got to get out mold and you've basically lost everything," Workman said.
Through the storm, they're holding strong to what's important to them. "The first words out of our mouths are praise God our children are safe," Workman said. "That we're all safe."
Building Church in Huntsville is still collecting donations to take to Baton Rouge. You can find that information on whnt.com by clicking here.
The American Red Cross is also accepting donations to help the thousands of families affected.