Electricity was finally restored to the majority of the Freret corridor late Sunday evening, after nearly a week of most businesses there either giving away their goods or struggling to operate without power.
As the New Orleans City Council prepares to hold a hearing on the Entergy response at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Freret Business and Property Owners Association has sent a letter emphasizing the importance of local businesses in any recovery, and raising the possibility that the major upcoming underground drainage work on Jefferson, Napoleon and Louisiana avenues could include other utilities.
The letter is printed in full below:
To the New Orleans City Council,
First, I hope you, your staff and families weathered the storm safely. Second, we appreciate your demands of accountability to Entergy by calling a special meeting on Tuesday, September 4th.
As I type this letter on Sunday morning, more than 80% of our commercial corridor remains without power. These are small family owned and operated businesses that are desperate to reopen as to mitigate further losses. We all remember after Katrina battling insurance companies for business interruption insurance and what a nightmare it was. Most importantly, if these businesses were back on line, they could be serving the immediate surrounding neighborhood that is also still without electricity.
After viewing the Entergy outage map, I cannot make any sense of where the priorities were to restore power. It appears the response was not well organized, to put it mildly. While I understand the safety of the linesmen not working in 30 mph winds, that was not the case in all areas. There are several private weather stations all over New Orleans that were operating and reporting accurate up to the minute sustainable winds. Including one at 5110 Freret Street, one at Newman High School, one at SnoWizard on Magazine Street to list just a few. We have seen how private +
public partnerships have successfully worked in the past in our city.
I am not sure about all of the details for the Master Plan of city wide infrastructure, but I hope they can coordinate all of the agencies to work together. For example, could the SELA drainage project currently on Napoleon and soon to be on Jefferson run underground utilities at the same time? To add further insult, FEMA is not currently reimbursing individuals for damages. Many have a 20% hurricane deductible and that would require $15,000-$30,000+ of damages. Please advocate to the Governor FEMA needs to help by reimbursing damages sustained from this storm.
Volunteer Board Member
THE FRERET BUSINESS + PROPERTY OWNER ASSOCIATION