Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider stood in front of his replica of the iconic General Lee — wrecked by Hurricane Ida — and told Dailymail.com, “Oh, I can knock out a few dents.”
“That car is me,” he added. “I’m going to straighten it up a bit and leave it that way. Because I think people without scars can’t be trusted.
“And people who have scars and hide them should be avoided at all costs,” he said. “So I’m going to be honest about the general’s scars.”
The 61-year-old actor, who played Bo Duke on the hit show, spoke as he gave DailyMail.com an exclusive tour of his hurricane-stricken Louisiana film production studio that remains submerged — fearing flooding could get worse.
Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider says he plans to ‘punch a few dents’ on his beloved replica of General Lee after it was destroyed by a fallen tree during Hurricane Ida this Sunday
The 61-year-old actor tells DailyMail.com he’ll “straighten it up a bit and leave it be” 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 famous for beating the General Lee along dirt roads in the show
Schneider first revealed the destruction of his property in a Facebook post that showed a photo of his upside-down replica General Lee car crushed by a tree near 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, who played 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 is a Ford Crown Victoria converted into General Lee. It’s our stunt car here for movies and we’ve had it for about two years,” John said.
The characters Bo and Luke were famous for beating General Lee down dirt roads and flying them over hills to escape the corrupt law enforcement officer Boss Hogg – with panels and suspension that could take a beating.
“My educated guess is that we used a total of 329 cars. And we destroyed most of them. There may be a few more, but there’s no telling where they are now,” he added.
He said a pecan had been knocked over by Ida and the roots lifted General Lee on his side.
“The general is going, ha, missed me,” said the actor and country singer.
“And then this thing breaks off,” he added, pointing to another tree, “and it 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 for ‘Miss Shirley’s General Store’ is Schneider’s General Lee
He wrote on Facebook, accompanying the photo of the crashed car: “Well… When something like this happens, you have two choices: tears and laughter. I choose to laugh. So… What’s your signature? This is mine: “Miss Ida came by last night to see the general at Miss Shirley…”
Schneider — now married to third wife Alicia — took DailyMail.com around his 150-acre movie complex and house among the trees, next to the fast-flowing Tickfaw River in Holden, Louisiana, 40 miles east of Baton Rouge.
Speaking while driving a quad, he pointed out his fears that new storm warnings he’d received could mean the place is flooded — and is suffering more than it was during the hurricane.
He said: ‘Sunday night the winds were 150 miles per hour. We weren’t here because we were in Tennessee helping with supplies for the flood victims up there.
“We heard what was going to happen here, so we drove back on Monday and found that this whole road was covered in trees. You can see here where they were pushed into the water so we could get through.
Schneider revealed that 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 went out, under that tree you can see our high-voltage cables. So all the way down as far as you can see there were trees broken. On the heels of what my father-in-law is telling me, it’s the worst hurricane he’s ever seen here in Livingston Parish in this part of Louisiana, and we’ve got reports of another storm on the way.”
Schneider said if there is another storm, it may flood his already flooded property because so much water was dumped by Ida that the ground became saturated.
He fears a repeat of a storm from August 2016, when his home and property were submerged by a meter of water, while 90,000 homes in the area were also affected.
The star stopped to show us a lake by the river and explained that bubbles rising to the surface in the center predicted danger.
“That means the river is so high and the banks are so saturated that the water here is pushed under our dyke system and comes up through the bottom of the lake,” he said.
Speaking while driving a quad, the actor pointed out his fears that new storm warnings could mean the place is flooded and is suffering more than it was during the hurricane
Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider’s studio pictured on Wednesday. The Louisiana studio was heavily flooded in 2016
‘People might like that. Well no. Because that means there is a lot of water in the river and at the moment it is going pretty fast.
“And I just checked. At the moment 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 house underwater.
“There’s much worse to come. We are preparing for it.’
He drove on and pointed to deep layers of standing water, saying, “The fact that that water is there is very bad for us.”
And pointing to a small embankment, he added: ‘We are now lower than that. So when that water reaches that hill, it comes down and keeps flowing.
“The hurricane was clearly bad. It broke trees like toothpicks, but Ida’s soil saturation water pushes up from the ground.’
“When that happens, it’s like trying to get water out of a bathtub with a coffee cup by scooping it up and putting the water in front of your bathtub. You can do that all day, nothing happens.
The actor has kept fans updated on social media during the difficult time
“We are preparing for the worst. People think about flooding like they do in the movies, where there’s a terrible storm and then the river banks break and it gets violent.
“But it’s not really. This water goes up. If what I’ve been told by FEMA turns out to be true, that another storm is coming, then we’re screwed. And everyone in this area is getting screwed.”
He added: ‘We live by the river because if it’s not trying to kill you, it’s beautiful. At this point, it certainly tries to scare us off. But we’re not scared.’
And he said that after his storm of 2016, he produced an album called Ruffled Skirts Rebirth, which included a: song In The Shelter.
He proudly recited the lyrics from the driver’s seat of the ATV, saying:
‘There was a storm that had no name’
It rained three long days and nights
People standing on rooftops
No help in sight
So we turned on our Evinrudes
And did what we are good at
We said a prayer on our way out
And let the good lord do the rest
So hang on Louisiana
You can be sure that we are behind you
No bureaucratic BS will stop us in our tracks
Because if that water rises
We’ll be back 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 happen all the time – something bad weather or natural disasters – what you need is to have a strong community to come together when that happens so you can have help.
“When people come together for a common need, that’s wonderful.”