NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Construction on Jefferson Avenue near Magazine Street is strangling business in the area as more customers avoid the neighborhood because of traffic problems.
"They can't physically get here. They can't get here. The streets are closed, the detour back here - you can't get out," said Heather Catalanotto, who owns Angelique on Magazine.
The construction is part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers SELA project that will install needed drainage through the city, but businesses think the timing is killing their bottom line.
"When I come here at night and I see two or three people sitting and it's not a full house, it's heartbreaking. And when I go outside and see nobody there, it's just the traffic again it's heartbreaking," said Zohreh Khaleghi, who owns The Flaming Torch.
"They have cut off every artery on this side of St. Charles, aside from St. Charles, and I wish there was some way they could've phased it in a different way so that we're not being strangled," said Tisa Camet, who runs Tisa Beauty Bar.
The problems are causing some people to give up on Magazine Street shops.
"A French wine club that we're doing," Khaleghi said, "I have an email three days ago, which they're not going to do it this month because of the construction, and they were so sorry about this, but they have to do it somewhere else, because of this."
The Corps said the construction should be completed by Summer of 2016.