"We feel the way we handle these floods is acceptable to us," Thompson said Monday from his 670-person town where the Mississippi was 10 feet above flood stage, swamping some basements and forcing lower-lying businesses in the kitschy downtown to close until the water recedes.
"There's no desire for a levee, and we would fight that," Thompson said.
Grafton resident Pam Bick, 57, echoed Thompson's disdain, even as her basement was taking in water by the minute Monday.
When it comes to flooding, "we just live with it," Bick said. She and her husband have lived in the home for four decades, including in 1993, which left water halfway up the structure's entry level. "We're resilient, and we live here because it's so beautiful."
Spots south of St. Louis aren't expected to crest until late this week, and significant flooding is possible in places like Ste. Genevieve, Mo., Cape Girardeau, Mo., and Cairo, Ill. On Monday, flood warnings were issued for Kentucky and Tennessee, but officials say the high water shouldn't make a significant impact.
Residents of tiny Dutchtown, Mo., south of Cape Girardeau, were filling thousands of sandbags to protect their homes.
"We've had our houses under water more than once out here," town board chairman Bud Smith told the Southeast Missourian. "We're trying to get a buyout, but you know how slow the government moves."
Elsewhere, smaller rivers were continuing to cause big problems. In Grand Rapids, Mich., the Grand River crested Sunday at a record 21.85 feet, driving hundreds of people from their homes and flooding parts of downtown.
The flooding also created some odd scenes. In Fox Lake, Ill., carp from the swollen Fox River were seen swimming on driveways.
And near St. Louis, all 114 barges that broke loose over the weekend were accounted for. U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Colin Fogarty said 11 sank and the river will remain closed over a 15-mile stretch out of safety concerns. It wasn't clear when the river would be allowed to reopen.
Salter reported from St. Louis.