August 5th Flood Impacted Several New Orleans establishments in Treme

Eric Craig

On Saturday, August 5th, several neighborhoods in New Orleans were left underwater after a summer storm dropped 9.3 inches of rain in some neighborhoods. That flood has affected Black businesses.  
The Zulu Headquarters, located at 722 North Broad Street, took water damage on the first floor. During Saturday’s rain storm, Broad Avenue was not drivable for several hours.
 
“As I sat and listened to the presentation, that’s not what I came here for,” said Naaman Stewart, President of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, at a special meeting convened by New Orleans City Council, held on Tuesday, August 8th.
 
“I didn’t come here to get confused about statistics and data about flooding.”
City Council held the meeting to retrieve answers from City Officials about why many neighborhoods in New Orleans flooded. There, the City hosted presentations by the National Weather Service, New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Sewerage & Water Board, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of Public Works. 
 
“If we flood like this in a typical summer rain storm, what’s going to happen during a hurricane? What’s going to happen during a tropical depression? We can’t live being concerned if our properties are going to flood during a rain storm.”
 
Stewart said that staff are currently gutting the first floor of its headquarters. 
“Feel sorry for the people who live in the neighborhoods. Feel sorry for the business that might not have flood insurance. Those are the people we need to be worried about,” Stewart said.
 
Stewart critiqued the Sewerage and Water Board for not being honest with the public. 
“If there is in fact some major problem with our pumping system, they need to tell us that. To say that this is the new norm, that’s not acceptable to me or anybody else in this room.” 
 
Stewart urged the council to ensure the residents will know what will be the next steps to prevent a flood like this from occurring in the City.
“We have to get these problems corrected, or there will be no City of New Orleans,” Stewart said.
 
Sewerage and Water Board
On Tuesday, August 8th, Executive Director of the Sewerage & Water Board, Cedric Grant announced his retirement days after Saturday’sflood.
 
“…Information I have learned over the last 24 hours indicate that some parts of our system did not operate as they should have, which is disappointing because it contradicts information that I was given to provide to the public. Our staff was not forthright, which is unacceptable,” Grant statement read.
 
At the special City Council Meet, Grant took responsibility for misleading the public, stating that all pumps were operational. General Superintendent, Joe Becker said that 14 out of 121 pumps were not in operation.
 
On last Sunday, S&WB announced all pumps were operational. Seven pumps were announced out of service Monday, and 14 as of Tuesday, August 8th.
 
Treme’ Flooding
Other businesses that took water damage include Willie Mae’s Scotch House, The Broad Theater, and McHardy’s Fixin’ Chicken.

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