Severe weather cancels Saturday's festivities, challenges city drainage system

Severe weather cancels Saturday's festivities, challenges city drainage system

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - "Definitely unprecedented and it was an excruciating decision to make," said French Quarter Fest President and CEO Emily Madero.

Yet, Madero says she's 100-percent confident canceling Saturday's event was the right move.

"When we're looking at conditions of flash flooding, potential hail, tornado warnings and wind gusts of up to 75 mph, our infrastructure can only withstand winds of up to 35 mph," she said.

Madero says it all came down to the safety of staff, musicians and attendees.

While the metro area didn't see the heavy winds initially forecasted, it was hammered with inches of rain.

A look from The FOX 8 Storm Tracker shows minor flooding in New Orleans and even deeper standing water in parts of Jefferson Parish.

"This has been a significant test of the system and is working so, hopefully, this will help improve some trust in the drainage system," said Sewerage and Water Board Communications Director Richard Rainey.

Sewerage and Water Board representatives call it a win.

"The drainage system has performed admirably. Turbines one and five of shoulder the load as far as power goes. I think, at one point, we got to 22 MW, 25 Hz power which is a considerable amount," Rainey said.

Rainey says 119 out of 120 pumps were up and operating and the lull in heavy rains allowed canals to drain.

Despite visitors' disappointment regarding French Quarter Fest, Madero says they're ready for Sunday's festivities.

"Bring your shrimp boots just in case but we ordered mulch days and days ago," said Madero. "It's going to be a full day of music and we're going to make up for lost time."

Madero says crews worked overnight to secure all infrastructure and there have been no issues. She adds, all of Saturday's performers are gigging musicians and will be paid, despite the cancellation.

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