Dukes of Hazard actor's Louisiana home, studio swamped

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Actor, writer and director John Schneider, known for his past role on the "Dukes of Hazzard" and current role on "The Haves and the Have Nots," thought the first flood he experienced at his Louisiana production studio was bad but says he now knows there are different levels of what's considered "bad."

Schneider's Livingston Parish-based studio — which includes his home, offices, cars, wardrobe, sound stages, and more — flooded in mid-March but the water didn't get into his 116-year-old home.

This time around, he wasn't as lucky.

Schneider was one of tens of thousands of people affected by flooding across southern Louisiana where a deluge of rain as much as two feet in some areas sparked widespread, catastrophic flooding. Thirteen people died and at least 30,000 people had to be rescued from their homes. People across the state have been cleaning out their homes and trying to figure out where they will get the money to rebuild.

Schneider said this time, overflow from the Tickfaw River this month inundated all of his property in Holden, flooding his home — which includes his editing and screening rooms — and another house in which his mother lives.

"I've never experienced anything like this before," he said. "There's mud. There's silt. There's sand. It's everywhere. We used to have a baseball field on the property. Now it's covered with sand. I guess we can use it as beach set now."

Schneider said his dogs, who freely roam the property, survived the deluge by jumping onto a picnic table in the barn. "A friend came in and got them," he said.

Most amazing though, he says, has been the response by people in the area.

"A friend, I'll always be grateful to, came and put my guitars on top of tables and stools to save them," Schneider said. Another friend waded into the house and saved two films on his computer.

Schneider's reflections came as several friends helped clean out one of the sound stages where river debris was left behind once the water returned to within its banks. Actor Dylan Walsh, best known for his role as Dr. Sean McNamara in the FX television series "Nip/Tuck," in which Schneider also appeared, was among those lending a hand.

Schneider acknowledges the difficulties ahead as he focuses on recovery, but said he won't let the flooding stop his work at the studio.

"It might slow it down but won't stop it. You can't let something like this beat you," he said.

Schneider said he could resume filming at the studio as early as next week if need be. "One of the sound stages has been emptied, cleaned out and restocked with whatever was salvageable. We've got furniture, fixtures, pool tables and other props. The main house, however, will be a while. The floors buckled and came up due to the water so it's not safe in there. That's going to have to be repaired before anyone can use that."

On Sunday, Schneider and some of his friends will be in Branson, Missouri, hosting a flood relief benefit concert at the Starlite Theatre.


This story has been corrected to show the Branson venue's name is spelled Starlite Theatre, not Starlight Theater.

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