NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Cracked buildings and flooded basements are forcing many Uptown residents and business owners to seek legal help.
A lawsuit blaming New Orleans' Sewerage and Water Board for damages has grown to 142 people. People say the constant digging and pipe installation is shaking their homes and causing cracks in their walls and foundations.
"Shifting at the foundation is causing issues along the roof, and as it causes issues along the roof, we are seeing cracks in the building along with water on our ceilings," Corey Watson said.
Watson's family owns and runs Watson Memorial Teaching Ministries at the intersection of St. Charles and Napoleon avenues. The Watsons believe the drainage construction is causing the exterior and interior damage. Once construction started, the basement began flooding.
"We've had water to rise as high as 6 to 8 feet," he said. "That black hose is what we use to help pump the water out of the basement, and we've seen this happen repeatedly as this project has gone on."
"I'm not a technical guy but I can imagine that we are talking close to a $1 million worth of damage to our building," Pastor Tom Watson said.
"This is not a scratched door or somebody rear-ended you in the parking lot and you're complaining that your back hurts," attorney Michael Whitaker said. "This is objectively and verifiable damage to people's homes, business and lives that they have no fault for that their city is ignoring."
The Sewerage and Water Board denies any responsibility for the damages Uptown. The board said it would have liked homeowners to make a claim with their inspectors instead of taking the legal route.