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Crews making repairs, cleaning mess left behind by broken water pipe

A stretch of Cohn Street in the Uptown area was transformed Wednesday into a busy, loud construction site. A thick layer of smelly mud covered the street and front lawns.

Throughout the day, crews worked to repair a large underground pipe that ruptured Tuesday, sending water gushing into the streets and setting off a boil water alert in the city, due to a temporary drop in pressure.

Officials lifted the advisory Wednesday afternoon, but a large mess remained.

"They have brought this truck and that truck and this big thing and that big thing in and you can't do anything, and the mud, I just can't believe the mud," said JoAnn Perdue, whose home sits near the broken pipe.

Sewerage and Water Board officials said the advisory affected more than 24,000 customers across Uptown.

At restaurants like N'awlins Jazz Cafe and Oyster Bar on Magazine Street, employees had to scramble to adjust.

"Not only having to travel and go to the store and get the water, but the added cost as well," said server Amber Thomas. "We still have some water stocked in the back. We're still doing the precautions we need to. Yes, we would like to hear that we can use our water again."

Now that the water quality is considered safe, officials are focused on the major tasks at hand - repairing the broken pipe and cleaning up.

"We have a lot more work to do, whether it's cleaning the streets, the backfill... we've got some paving work we need to do," said Sewerage and Water Board Superintendent Joe Becker. "There's a lot of mud that got into the catch basins around here. So, we're gonna' have some water board crews that are gonna' be out here, cleaning the city of New Orleans catch basins. We'll take a look at their drain lines to see if we had any damage to those facilities."

It's the latest in a string of recent issues with the city's water system, but this one caused bigger than usual problems for some. The gushing water left some vehicles with flood damage – JoAnn Perdue's included.

"You're just wondering -- what's gonna' happen. And the water was so high, we thought it was gonna keep on coming," Perdue said.

Officials said it may take several days to learn how many vehicles suffered flood damage, as claims keep coming in.

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