Eddie Staten pushed a shopping cart nearly a mile to the Mississippi College School of Law on Sunday to find clean water.
Staten is one of the thousands of people in Jackson affected by the massive water outage after two winter storms swept Mississippi in mid-February. Almost three weeks later, the city’s bags are still out of service.
He’s one of the luckier ones – his water has returned. But Staten said his pressure was low and his toilet still wouldn’t flush. AndSometimes when he turns on the faucet, the water comes out brown.
“We don’t drink tap water because we don’t trust it,” said Staten. “Everyone said it was contaminated and not drinking.”
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Staten and others like him are why Jeffery Land, an attorney from Memphis, Tennessee, organized members of the Leo Bearman, Sr. American Inn of Courts – an organization of attorneys, judges, and other lawyers – came together to do more than that bring 1,900 cases of bottled water to Jackson.
When the storms hit, Land said he was also under boiling water advice, but his problems resolved after a few days. He said he had never heard of an outage that lasted nearly as long as the Jackson one and felt compelled to help.
“I saw the message and thought I had to do something,” he said.
Land said after speaking to others in the organization, he spoke to his father, Jeff Land, and began coordinating how to get water to the Charles Clark American Inn of Courts in Jackson.
Jeff Land said the organization acquired the water within days and offered a local freight forwarder – Milan Supply Chain Solutions – to move it.
“I texted the CEO, Michael McLarty … and he called me three minutes later and said it was a closed deal,” he said.
Land was able to set up a sales office in the Mississippi College School of Law parking lot on East Griffith Street, as the college is home to the Jackson office. Just 30 minutes after the distribution began, the organizers estimated that 50 cars had already come through to fetch water.
Land isn’t the only person bringing outside help to Jackson.The New Orleans Pelicans basketball team donated two truckloads of water Monday, which was distributed by the city. The University of Mississippi Athletics Department, in partnership with the Mississippi Food Network, also hosted a water ride to contribute during their recent series of baseball games against Belmont.
District Chancellery Judge Crystal Wise Martin, who was there with her family on Sunday to help with the distribution, said it felt good To see people ready to come together to help Jackson when it’s needed most.
“I’m just so warm that people come out … to help people,” she said. “That’s really what life is about.”
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During a press conference on Friday, Charles Williams, director of public works at Jackson, said pressures at the plant are improving and only the bags in South Jackson are still out of service. Testing of the city’s well water system to see if the boiling advisories can be overturned began Friday. The surface water system is tested when the pressure remains stable for at least 48 hours.
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