FOX 8 Defenders: Two missing manhole covers in one city block

New Orleans, La.-- Drivers face not one, but two, very dangerous concerns on one city street in New Orleans.  Frustrated their complaints haven't being taken seriously, and some drivers say for years, they've turned to the FOX 8 Defenders for help.

Tucked between the Pontchartrain Expressway's Howard Ave. exit and Earhart and between Jeff Davis Parkway and South Broad, you'll run into one busy street.  "A lot of people exit interstate and use this as a cut through to get to Earhart and to get to Broadmoor," said driver Felix Pettey.

There's also a lot of businesses along the 4,000 block of Euphrosine St.  It's like a mini industrial park that includes a major fresh seafood distributor, a flooring company and a furniture warehouse, which explains all the big trucks coming and going.

People who travel Euphrosine, near South Dupre and South White Streets compare it to an obstacle course.  Drivers dodge not one, but two missing manhole covers.  "This one's been about probably four months," said Pettey, pointing to the missing manhole cover in the middle of the intersection at Euprhosine and South Dupre.  People who work in the area tell us, they're the ones who put a reflective barricade in the wide-open manhole.  Deep down at the very bottom, we found two old manhole covers.

"I've seen people hit it.  I mean cars.. just damage just screws it all up," said Sean Brown, a driver for the New Orleans Fish House.  Besides the potential damage to a vehicle, drivers worry somebody's going to get hurt, especially when it's dark out.

Travel to the next block, at Euphrosine and South White, and you'll run into the same problem just outside the Comeaux Furniture Warehouse.  A Comeaux employee told the FOX 8 Defenders, that manhole cover was missing when they moved to this location, and that was years ago, in 2007.

Drivers tell FOX 8, they have reported the problem.  "I think it's horrible.  I've called about maybe 70 times to get it fixed.  They come out here.. they just put yellow cones or barricades around it (missing manhole cover), but they don't do anything," explained Westley West, who told FOX 8 he owns a building on Euprhosine.  When asked who he called, West said, "the Sewerage and Water Board and the 311.. the 3-1-1, and they give you a number and they sent me an email, saying it's been repaired, but they just come stick a barricade on it."

West wasn't kidding about the barricade. The FOX 8 Defenders found several orange cones piled up inside the open manhole.

That's not all we found in the 4,000 block of Euphrosine.  All day, water flowed out of a hole in the sidewalk.  "The leak over there has been going on I'd say for about two years, and it's just nonstop, and I don't know who's paying for it.  Obviously the taxpayers are," said Pettey.

"There's a lot of businesses on this street.  We pay a lot of taxes, and they don't put anything in the infrastructure here.  It just makes you sick, and they wonder why businesses leave the city," explained West.

Searching for answers, FOX 8 called the city's 311 service line first.  The operator told us, "we don't handle water, but can do the manhole covers."  She informed us, both manhole complaints had been inspected in the last couple of months and that the missing manhole cover at Euphrosine and South White is on schedule to be repaired with a casting ring, but she didn't know when.  As for the one at South Dupre, she explained that's a Sewerage and Water Board issue.

A city spokesperson tells us the Department of Public Works inspected the areas and determined in addition to repairing the manholes, repair to a drainage line is also needed.  The city spokesperson didn't give us a target date of when that'll happen.  The city said Public Works will make repairs "as soon as possible."  As for the leaky sidewalk, we haven't heard back from the Sewerage and Water Board.  The FOX 8 Defenders staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women will keep a close eye on the problem and any progress.