Tenenbaums find refuge at hotel in Lexington

File photo: Samuel Tenenbaum at the HQ of Columbia's operation to help Katrina evacuees in 2005.

File photo: Samuel Tenenbaum at the HQ of Columbia’s operation to help Katrina evacuees in 2005.

Concerned about this Facebook message from Inez Tenenbaum, as of Monday evening:

Our home on the Saluda River is flooded and the renovations will probably take six weeks or more. If any of my Facebook friends know of a place we can rent (with two dogs and four cats) please let me know! Thanks so much.

I called and talked with Samuel. I knew how close their house was to the river. You know those pictures I keep showing of the pool and tennis courts at Quail Hollow? They’re like that close — although the house is on stilts.

Samuel says they’re doing OK. They’re in a Quality Inn Suites in Lexington that takes pets, which I found amazing. There are plenty of other flooded-out folks with pets staying there. The dogs are with them. The cats, who as we know fend for themselves, are back at the house with plenty of food — and Samuel is anxious to get back to check on them.

They evacuated on Sunday, just minutes before the Lake Murray floodgates were opened. Good call, since they are very close to the dam — they live in a rural area off Corley Mill Road.

There was already five feet of water in their driveway — not from the river, but from nearby creeks feeding into it. The water was moving too swiftly for a boat to come alongside to pick them up, so Samuel put Inez and the dogs into a kayak and pulled them, wading through the water himself. He told himself while doing so that any snakes in the water had already had the sense to abandon the area.

“Now I know what it’s like to be homeless,” he said — if only temporarily.

This is especially ironic because Samuel ran Columbia’s response to Hurricane Katrina 10 years back, heading up the operation to accommodate refugees from that disaster.

As he sees it, he’s following that protocol: “We established the plan 10 years ago. We put people in motels.” And that’s where he, Inez and the dogs are.

“It’s a bummer, it’s emotional. Here you are, 72 years old” and you have to deal with this. But he’s dealing with it with typical aplomb: “It’s a bummer, it’s emotional. “My name is Noah T-baum,” he’s telling everyone.

As for longer-term rental accommodations, the Tenenbaums have a line on a couple of places, although nothing is set in stone. So pass on any tips you have…

7 thoughts on “Tenenbaums find refuge at hotel in Lexington

  1. Barry

    What kind of dogs?

    I have 1 lab- very gentle dog. I have a fenced in back yard. I could possibly take their dogs for the rest of the week until they find a better place to stay. I live just over in Kershaw County. yes, my dog is current on all his vaccines.

  2. Brad Warthen

    Good news! Samuel and Inez were able to get back to their house. The cats are fine, and there’s no damage to the living quarters, although their foyer on the ground level is messed up. They even have power! But they can’t stay there because there’s no water. Their well is out.

  3. Brad Warthen Post author

    Samuel serves on the board of governors of the Capital City Club with me. In response to a query from our GM asking how everyone had fared, Samuel gave this update:

    Thanks for the update. Here is Update on Tenenbaums. We will be leaving the Quality Inn and Suites in Lexington which has been our home since Sunday with our dogs . The motel has been wonderful to all of us there with pets ! Our two cars totaled, damage to foyer and utility room. Water was 5 ft high. Water never got to actual living area for our house was built to meet the 100 year flood history and if they did not have to open the Spillway which they have not done since the 1960s we would have not this damage for the water would not have even come over the banks as they were already lowering the lake Murray and they had to do this . Lots of muck and silt and river trash all over the place . We have flood insurance and Fema coming Wed and other insurance folks have been and still coming, and all the other s you need to get on your feet. Students from River Bluff High School came Wed with the Football Coach, Principal and they starting cleaning and stacking the surrounding yards of river junk that flowed into the area. They were fabulous and it shows what a good community we have . They just showed up and they had shovels and trash bags and etc and went to work. One neighbor need to be rescued by DNR. We got out right before the spillway was to be opened and our drive was already flooded because of the heavy rain and flooding creeks up the road, so I got my wife and two dogs in a kayak and pulled them to high ground and we left food and water for our 4 cats. All are well. It is a bummer, but we are fortunate and blessed and will prevail and both us have been at work and doing recovery work. We know what a fine community we have. So I have changed my name , it is Noah T-Baum, flood survivor !

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