Landrieu: Emergency financial assistance unlikely after weekend storm

Landrieu: Emergency financial assistance unlikely after weekend storm

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Monday, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said he believes businesses and residents affected by Saturday's storm will not reach the threshold to obtain emergency federal assistance.

"I think it's kind of unlikely that we meet that threshold to be honest with you," Landrieu said. "You need to hit a pretty high level. Although the damage for one house is catastrophic, unless it adds up to a pretty significant threshold, it looks like its going to a little bit more difficult so it looks like we are going to have to help each other out."

Landrieu along with Governor John Bel Edwards and other political leaders visited the areas damaged by flood waters. The group visited Willie Mae's Restaurant, the Zulu Social Club and businesses in Lakeview.

Ann Boudousque spent Monday airing out Parlay's Bar in Lakeview. The storm pushed several inches of water into the bar Saturday.

She questions if the flood could have been prevented and why it took several hours for the water to subside.

"It's just upsetting that there was no foresight in the part of the city or the sewerage and water board or both," she said. "It's not like it's our first rain, and that they didn't do more."

But according to the Sewerage and Water Board's General Superintendent Joseph Becker, the department was fully staffed and did all it could to try and prevent damage to homes and businesses.

"I have the largest municipal drainage pumping station in the world, and I can pump about a half of inch of rain per hour. I cannot handle nine and a half inches of rain in less than a three hour time period," Becker said.

Out of the 121 pumps, seven were not operating due to scheduled maintenance.

Becker did not say where those seven pumps were located, but he did admit some were in the affected areas. However, he said even if those seven pumps were operating, the system could not handle Saturday's rainfall.

"We had more than enough capacity to handle the amount of water to those stations with the pumps that were available to us," Becker said.

Tuesday, City Council members will address flooding issues at a 1 p.m. meeting at City Hall.

"It's a very concerning incident," Orleans Representative Stephanie Hilferty said. "I'm hopeful that tomorrow that we will start see some answers. I know I'm digging in and the council is digging in. We are all looking to get some answers for these questions."

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