Heavy showers inundate businesses, cars and underpasses across metro area

Heavy showers inundate businesses, cars and underpasses across metro area

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Heavy afternoon thunderstorms flooded homes, cars and businesses from Mid-City, to Metairie and into Lakeview.

If you were under a heavy rain cloud, you paid the price, but in the flooding, tales of New Orleanians helping others.

In the middle of the movie 'Dunkirk' this afternoon, Eve Melvan faces a different kind of war, a war against water, New Orleanians know all too well.

"They came in and told us it was flooding. But they let us hang out," said Melvan.

He's operated the Broad Theater for two years, and Brian Knighten never saw a downpour like this one.

"Throughout most of the building, we only had water on the first floor, projectors are fine," said Knighten.

The water line on the theater around a foot high. Throughout Mid-City a similar story. This is South Jeff Davis Parkway where residents gathered their belongings, and took to canoes to get to high ground, after a downpour which the Orleans Sewerage and Water Board said dumped as much as 4.5 inches, in about an hour. Fox 8 reported two and three quarter inches in the same time period.

"Every time it rains hard, it happens," said good Samaritan Harry Henderson.

Over on St. Bernard Avenue, and also at  Canal Boulevard, rail underpasses became ponds, where passenger cars stalled out.

"Those low profile cars, try and push through and they get stuck," said Henderson.

Metairie didn't escape either. At Veterans and Aris, floodwater lapped at a restaurant's door.

This was the scene on North Rendon which was only passable for higher vehicles. Over at the I-10 on ramp at Orleans, drivers push flooded cars out of harms way.

On St. Bernard Ave., lifelong friends Harry Henderson and Melvin Poche, try and help flooded drivers, as people in pickup trucks, push through, or take the sidewalks.

"Try and do the best I can for the neighborhood," said Henderson.

Tow truck operators helped out where they could on Broad St.

"They need to fix the drain system, that's what they need to do," said Poche.

The Broad Theater was booked tonight, for the premiere of 'Girls Trip', but now the theater is closed, so employees can mop up.

"Never to this extent, which has me wondering if the pumps are on," said Knighten.

Sewerage and Water board officials say pump stations were fully staffed.

This liquor bottle caught up in a drainage whirlpool on Broad St., shows the pumps were working. But officials reiterated the system can only handle one inch of rain, the first hour, and a half an inch for each hour after.

By six pm, the Sewerage and Water Board said all the water had drained from the city's main underpasses.

The owner of the Broad Theater says he will likely remain closed through the weekend, and he hopes to re-open Monday.

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