Wallace J. Bourgeois, Jr., died attempting to help save George A. Garcia, Jr., and others from drowning, Kiln, Mississippi, March 17, 1961. When heavy rains caused Catahoula Creek to overflow its banks at night and flood a pine forest where they were camping 100 feet from the creek, George, 15, schoolboy, Wallace, 15, schoolboy, Gasper E. Maurigi, and three other teen-age boys climbed into the trees. By morning the water was eight to 10 feet deep for one and a half miles on each side of the creek channel, and trees were being swept away by the swift current and heavy debris. Fearing that George, who could not swim, and the others would be drowned if the trees in which they had taken refuge also were uprooted, Wallace and Gasper decided to go for help. They and another boy entered the water after discarding their jackets and shoes. Swimming with the current, they made their way from one tree to another toward a road 2,000 feet downstream. After swimming 700 feet, the other boy suggested that they turn back. Wallace said that he was going on and continued downstream, disappearing in the trees and brush. Gasper and the other boy shouted to Wallace, who answered weakly that he had lost his way. Gasper and the other boy continued calling but heard nothing further. Stating that he was going to look for Wallace, Gasper swam 30 feet downstream. He seized a floating limb, which struck a tree and caused him to be submerged. After calling repeatedly without receiving an answer, the other boy swam a short distance toward the rest of the group and then took refuge in a tree. About three hours later two members of a rescue party reached him in a motorboat. They removed him and the other three boys to high ground. The bodies of Wallace and Gasper were recovered several days later.
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