City is planning flood-control initiative


Prytania Street was transformed into a pit in 2015 for the installation of new drainage canals underground. (photo courtesy of Manual Mondragon, @mm_dragon on Twitter)

Cars again filled neutral grounds as commuters again navigated their routes to avoid flooded streets on Monday, when 3 to 5 inches of rain fell in a matter of hours. And again, cars stalled, traffic slowed or stopped, and businesses flooded despite sandbag barricades.

There’s no stopping the rain, but the city is preparing a major flood-control initiative, Ramsey Green, the mayor’s top aide for infrastructure, told Uptown Messenger last week.

“The city, together with the Sewerage & Water Board and the corps, is looking at how can we get some answers,” Green said.

The Army Corps of Engineers, the S&WB and the city’s Public Works Department are conducting subsurface analytics of the city’s drainage system, Green said, primarily concentrating on areas where drainage is especially slow. Those areas include Napoleon Avenue in the Uptown area.

Engineers are also taking a close look at the effects of the Southeast Louisiana, or SELA, drainage projects, Green said, especially the canals recently installed Uptown at the Jefferson Avenue and Louisiana Street corridors.

In a press release issued after the Mother’s Day flooding in May, the mayor outlined eight target areas that are taking longer to drain: the area bounded by Canal Boulevard, West End Boulevard, City Park Avenue and Filmore Avenue; the Broad and Orleans corridors; the Banks corridor; Franklin Avenue at the Interstate 610/10 overpass; Napoleon Avenue from Claiborne Avenue to Broad; the St. Bernard Avenue corridor; Gen. de Gaulle and Wall boulevards in Algiers; and St. Claude Avenue from Elysian Fields Avenue to the Lower 9th Ward.

Then, on July 10 and again on Monday, the Central Business District and Warehouse District were inundated, adding another area of concern.

In addition to pulling the occasional stray automobile and other debris from a drainage culverts, the city plans to respond with projects such as the Gentilly Resilience District and the Hagan-Lafitte drainage initiative in Mid-City, Green said.

Easton Park (in the Hagan-Lafitte area) is a good example in the future of infrastructure in the city,” Green said. “It has a massive pond that you don’t see. There are massive freight-train-car-size cisterns under the ground. That’s a really exciting project.”

Green said an announcement is expected once analytics are complete, which could be as early as next month.

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