NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Uptown neighbors are trying to smile to keep from crying when it comes to a section of street that more closely resembles a wildlife habitat.
A large open section of Marengo Street near Prytania is filled with debris, restricting traffic and creating a headache for the neighborhood. Nearby homeowners said they have all but given up on ever seeing their street whole.
Newly sprouted green grass, dead leaves, tree branches and mud create a fertile plot. Tom Schoenbrun lives in the area and said the hole has been there for years, but has progressed to a much bigger problem.
“If you step into it it’s kind of like a marsh. There’s pieces of concrete and mud and water still coming up," Schoenburn said. “It’s a danger. It’s a traffic bottle neck when people are trying to get to the school down the street.”
Before so much debris filled the space, Schoenbrun said the drop-off was nearly a foot, causing blow-outs and at least one accident before the city brought out reflective barrels. With the standing water and rotting leaves, it’s also a haven for mosquitoes.
Pushing through the damage is a large puddle of water. There is a little movement to the water as it pushes down towards the storm drain, indicating a continuous leak.
“At this point it’s become a joke so the sign is kind of reflective of the fact," Schoenbrun said.
Fed up with at least a 15-year cycle of broken pipes and band-aid repairs, someone thought a little humor might help and residents have now dubbed this spot the “Marengo Bog.”
In a sign that showed up recently, the giant pothole asks for protected wetland status, citing historical relevance and thanking the city for the opportunity.
“As neighbors we’ve kind of given up on getting anything done ourselves,” Schoenbrun said.
Several years ago, the neighborhood pressed City Hall about the issue.
“I know that during Landrieu’s administration, the city council people were made aware of it. That’s when people were pretty vocal,” Schoenbrun said.
Schoenbrun said the last actual work he remembers done on the street happened back in 2016.
“I believe it was Sewerage and Water Board. They repaired the damage and filled it in, and then it started leaking again and they fixed it again," Schoenbrun said,
Unfortunately, before it could be paved, the work crew damaged the pipes again.
“It was just kind of left,” Schoenbrun said.
And that what really upsets him. Plus, with an ever growing number of streets needing repair, Schoenbrun is worried this project has been long forgotten.
“We understand that the city is strapped for crews," Schoenbrun said. "Our feeling is if they’ve screwed it up and made it worse they should come back and correct it rather than being kicked to the end of the list.”
Still, neighbors are hoping this tongue-in-cheek approach gets the attention the neighborhood needs.
Latonya Norton with New Orleans Mayor’s office said the department of public works will pave the area within the next 60 days, but it is not clear if that includes fixing the water leak.