Kenner residents frustrated with flooding

Kenner residents frustrated with flooding

KENNER, LA (WVUE) - Some residents in north Kenner said flood protection that was supposed to protect their homes is doing just the opposite. They blame the Army Corps of Engineers for the repeated flooding they are experiencing, and Thursday some of them took their complaints to the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East.

The flooding is affecting properties that are behind a floodwall on Grand Lake Boulevard.

"Water has come into the house actually three times," said Henry Schlorff as he stood on the concrete foundation in his bedroom.

Once again, his family's flooring has become a casualty to flood waters, the most recent on May 21 during heavy rainfall. Hardwood flooring in the master bedroom is ripped out in sections, and his son's room is void of its carpeting.

"Wood flooring is not cheap, it's not cheap at all. It's just a mess," Schlorff said.

The flooding he and some of his neighbors experience has been occurring off and on for more than a year. In June of last year, water raced onto their property for two straight days. And when the skies opened up on May 21, it was more of the same.

"All of a sudden my neighbor goes, man, it's flooding outside, I looked out the back door and I'm like, oh no," Schlorff said.

His neighbor, who has lived in her home for 29 years, has had it worse.

"For the fourth time in 14 months we've been flooded from rains that come off of the levee that's being built for the last few years supposedly to make drainage better, and it's been a nightmare for us," said Shyrlene Oubre.

They said that area of the subdivision did not flood during Katrina, but now there are problems because of the floodwall and the earthen area next to it.

"My take is that the work that was done to transport storm water that was trapped between the new floodwall and the back of the homes - the mechanism to move that water out was not properly designed," said Stephen Estopinal, President of the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East.

The Corps issued a statement that said, "The landside runoff system is designed to contain a 10 yr rainfall event which is the same design criteria used for the rest of our hurricane risk reduction features. The flooding that occurred May 21st resulted from a storm that was greater than a 10 yr event and included nearly 3/4" of rain falling in just a 5 minute period and just under 3.8" in one hour."

The Corps is currently analyzing the recent rainfall and the landside runoff system's performance in order to determine what actions can be taken to reduce the risk of homes flooding in the future.

"The sub-surface system should be designed for a 10-year event, but the drainage system overall needs to be designed for a 100-year event to protect homes and businesses from flooding," Estopinal said.

'"Everybody just wants to point fingers - it's not us, or it was the rainfall storm. No, somebody's got to own up to the situation at hand because it's not fair," said Schlorff.

He and other residents worry that the flood insurance program will stop covering their damage.

"I'm being told now there's a serious problem they're not going to keep covering this," Oubre said.

Schlorff bought the Kenner home in 2006, a year after Katrina ruined everything he had in St. Bernard Parish.

"We thought we were safe, all of a sudden we're not safe," he said.

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