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Catch basins being cleared, but many frustrated with pace

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

Catch basins along Elysian Fields are getting some much-needed attention.

Of the city’s 65,000 catch basins, an estimated 15,000 of them are clogged or in need of repair.

“It’s a sunny day. We haven’t had rain for a few days now. We have a pond that’s growing some kind of mildew in it now,” says Zachary Menicucci-Foster.

At Canal and North Hennessey, just outside Blue Dot Donuts, it’s tough to even find the catch basin because it’s under water.

“Oh yeah, most people don’t even know it’s there,” says Menicucci-Foster.

Owner Zachary Menicucci-Foster believes the drain lines are blocked. He says complaints to the city have gone unanswered for years.

“When I bought the business, I called over three times, and I bought it in March. I know the ex-owners have been calling, and they’ve been fighting this easily for three or four years,” says Menicucci-Foster.

Now, he says his business is suffering on a daily basis. Customers have to park in the water, even on a dry day.

“You know, I’m a business owner here, and I pay into this city to help make it better. When we become an island, we can’t,” says Menicucci-Foster.

While business owners deal with issues, homeowners say things are just as bad.

“It surely doesn’t look like it works,” says Christina Gonzales.

In Lakeview along Bellaire Drive, the top of a catch basin has collapsed and someone has put a large pallet over the top of it, along with a cone.

“And I guess, the pallet’s here so nobody rolls over it, but it is open. If the pallet wasn’t there, someone could bust their tires on it,” says Gonzales.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu says all five of the Department of Public Works vacuum trucks are now on the street. Still, more is needed to reach the city’s goal of addressing all 15,000.

“We will add to the capacity with temporary labor from our work force development program, and leasing trucks and drivers from private contractors,” says Landrieu.

The Mayor believes that project will cost about $22 million, with some of that money already dedicated.

“Flooding is a huge concern for everybody in this city. I feel like it should be our priority one, aside from crime. Those are the two things that I feel like we really need to face and figure out and we really need to make it happen really quickly,” says Gonzales.

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