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New Orleans water pressure crisis taking a toll on tourism

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

The water pressure crisis in New Orleans is taking a toll on the city's tourism industry. Some guests of the Sheraton on Canal Street were checking out of their hotel early Thursday after dealing with no water. 

"You can't go without water and you can't use the toilets and you can't stay here. What do you do? How are they washing the utensils? That's the sad part, we don't know and nobody is telling us anything," said tourist Anita Sones. 

The problem is low or no water pressure. 

"Being upset about it doesn't necessarily fix things, being patient, hopefully, they will get it fixed and we can take a shower," said tourist Timothy Gwinn. 

While some hotel guests are trying to ride it out, others are checking out early, including hundreds of attendees for the Police Jury Association of Louisiana conference. The president of that group tells us they had over 500 rooms booked at the Sheraton. They were planning to stay until Friday night, but now they're canceling the conference early. 

"We had other guest speakers coming in, senators and everything else. And we're fixing to have to cancel with them. We had bands, we had caterers and everything else that we have to cancel at this time," said Police Jury Association of Louisiana President Joe Bishop.  

Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser spoke at the conference Thursday morning. He calls the situation embarrassing. 

"People are checking out, there's no water pressure, it's something that shouldn't happen in New Orleans. I mean, we have got to be better prepared. I know it's a historical cold, but to have where people got to check out of hotels, if there is any bright side it's all Louisianians from all over Louisiana going home early, but this shouldn't happen," said Nungesser. 

The New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board says they had a conference call with a number of hotels, restaurants and other entertainment venues about the problem Thursday. 

"A number are experiencing low water pressure. We walk through with them the current situation, how we, the time frame, we we're going to take, we will be able to reevaluate pressure in the morning, all are making individual decisions as to what they're going to do," said Marcie Edwards with the Sewerage and Water Board.  

But Nungesser says this shouldn't happen in a city like New Orleans. 

"You can't have that in a city like this that lives and breathes on tourism. It's just not a good message," said Nungesser.  

The general manager of the Sheraton New Orleans on Canal Street says the problem is the water pressure is so low they can't pump it up to the top floors of their high rise. He says no one is being asked to leave. Instead, they're working to accommodate guests who choose to stay or help others check into another hotel in the city. 

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