Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider stood in front of his replica of the iconic General Lee – smashed by Hurricane Ida – and told Dailymail.com: ‘Oh I can bang out a few dents.’
‘That car is me,’ he added. ‘I am going to straighten it out a little bit and leave it that way. Because I believe that people who have no scars shouldn’t be trusted.
‘And people who have scars and hide them should be avoided at all costs,’ he said. ‘So I am going to be honest about the General’s scars.’
The 61-year-old actor, who played Bo Duke in the hit show, spoke as he gave DailyMail.com an exclusive tour of his hurricane-hit film production studio in Louisiana that remains under water – amid fears flooding could even get worse.
Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider says he plans to ‘bang out a few dents’ on his beloved General Lee replica after it was smashed by a fallen tree during Hurricane Ida on Sunday
The 61-year-old actor tells DailyMail.com he’s going to ‘straighten it out a little bit and leave it that way’ and be honest about the car’s ‘scars’
Schneider (pictured left with co-stars Tom Wopat and Ben Jones in 1983) played Bo Duke, who was famed for thrashing the General Lee along dirt tracks on the show
Schneider first revealed the devastation to his property in a Facebook post that showed a picture of his upturned replica General Lee car crushed by a tree at the entrance.
The TV show, which ran from 1979 to 1985, was set in the deep south and featured New York-born Schneider alongside Tom Wopat, playing his brother Luke, with Catherine Bach as their leggy cousin Daisy Duke.
All the cars in the hit-show were modified Dodge Chargers, based on a 1969 model.
‘This one’s a Ford Crown Victoria and modified to be a General Lee. It’s been our stunt car here for movies and we’ve had it about two years,’ John said.
Characters Bo and Luke were famed for thrashing the General Lee along dirt tracks and making them fly over mounds to escape corrupt law officer Boss Hogg – with panels and suspension taking a hammering.
‘My very educated guess is we used 329 cars altogether. And we wrecked most of them. There may be a couple left out there, but there’s no telling where they are now,’ he added.
He said a pecan tree was smashed down by Ida and the roots lifted the General Lee up and over on its side.
‘The General goes, ha, missed me,’ said the actor and country singer.
‘And then this thing,’ he added, pointing to another tree, ‘breaks off and then bam, lands on the roof of the car.’
Schneider first revealed the damage to his production studio in Holden, Louisiana in a Facebook post on Monday
Seen during drier times in front of ‘Miss Shirley’s General Store’ is Schneider’s General Lee
On Facebook, he wrote by the picture of the crushed car: ‘Well… When something like this happens you have two choices: Tears and laughter. I choose laughter. So… What’s your caption? Here’s mine: ‘Miss Ida stopped by to see the General at Miss Shirley’s last night…’
Schneider – now married to third wife Alicia – took DailyMail.com around his 150-acre movie complex and home set among trees, beside the fast-flowing Tickfaw river in Holden, Louisiana, 40 miles east of Baton Rouge.
He spoke as he drove an ATV, pointing out his fears that new storm warnings he had received could mean the place is swamped – and suffers more than it did in the hurricane.
He said: ‘Sunday night, winds were 150 miles an hour. We weren’t here because we were in Tennessee helping with supplies for the flood victims up there.
‘We heard what was about to happen down here, so we drove back Monday to find this whole road was covered with trees. You can see here where they were pushed into the water, so we could get through.
Schneider revealed the replica has served as a stunt car for movies at his studio for the past two years
All the cars in the hit-show were modified Dodge Chargers, based on a 1969 model
‘Our power is out, you can see our power lines there under that tree. So all the way down as far as you can see trees had broken off. On the heels of what my father-in-law is telling me, it is the worst hurricane he has ever been through here in Livingston Parish in this part of Louisiana, and we have reports of a new storm coming.’
Schneider said if there is another storm, it will potentially inundate his already-flooded property because so much water was dumped by Ida it left the ground saturated.
He fears a repeat of an August 2016 storm when his home and property were under three feet of water, while 90,000 homes in the area were also hit.
The star stopped to show us a lake near the river and explained bubbles coming to the surface in the middle spelled danger.
‘That means the river is so high and the banks are so saturated that the water is being pushed underneath our levee system here and it is coming up through the bottom of the lake,’ he said.
The actor spoke as he drove an ATV, pointing out his fears that new storm warnings could mean the place is swamped and suffer more than it did in the hurricane
Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider’s studio pictured on Wednesday. The Louisiana studio was flooded badly back in 2016
‘People might think that’s pretty. Well, no. Because that means there is a whole lot of water in the river and right now it’s moving pretty fast.
‘And I’ve just checked. Right now the level is 17ft 4ins and it is projected to go to 21ft 5ins. When we had water that was 22ft in August 2016…’ he said, breaking off to show us a photo of his home under water.
‘There’s much worse to come. We are preparing for it.’
He continued driving and pointed to deep sheets of standing water, saying: ‘The fact that that water is right there is very bad for us.’
And indicating a small levee, he added: ‘We’re lower than that right now. So when that water reaches that hill it comes down and then it continues to flow.
‘The hurricane was obviously bad. It snapped trees like tooth picks, but ground saturation water from Ida is pushing up out of the ground.’
‘When that happens it’s like trying to get water out of a bath tub with a coffee cup by scooping it up and putting the water at the front of your bath tub. You can do that all day, nothing is going to happen.
The actor has kept fans updated on social media amid the tough time
‘We’re making preparations for the worst. People think about floods like they do in the movies, where there is this terrible storm and then the banks of the river breach and it gets violent.
‘But that’s not what it really is. This water is going to come up. If what I have been told by FEMA turns out to be true, that there is another storm coming, then we’re screwed. And everybody in this area will be screwed.’
He added: ‘We live on the river because when it’s not trying to kill you it’s beautiful. Right now it’s certainly trying to scare us off. But we don’t scare off.’
And he said after his 2016 storm, he produced an album called Ruffled Skirts Rebirth, which included a song called In The Shelter.
He proudly recited the lyrics from the driver’s seat of the ATV, saying:
‘There was a storm that didn’t have no name
It rained for three long days and nights
People standing on rooftops
No help in sight
So we powered up our Evinrudes
And did what we do best
We said a prayer on our way out
And let the good lord do the rest
So hang on Louisiana
You can bet we got your back
No bureaucratic BS is going to stop us in our tracks
Because when that water rises
We’ll be back again with the Cajun navy from South Louisiana.’
Schneider said the song reflected his desire for community spirit to help others when disaster strikes.
He said: ‘When things like this happen, and they’re happening all the time – something bad weatherwise or natural disaster-wise – what you need is to have a strong community to be joined together when that happens, so you can have help.
‘When people join together for a common need it’s wonderful.’