NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Three years. That’s how long some Seventh Ward residents say they’ve had to deal with a massive pothole so big, a tree grew out of it. Fed up, they turned to the FOX 8 Defenders for help.
The hole is smack dab on the corner of Duels and Pauger streets.
"This is an eyesore and it needs to be gone,” said resident Willie Bacchus. “You see somebody already throwing beads on it. Maybe we’ll decorate it for Mardi Gras.”
At this point, all Bacchus can do is laugh because asking for help, he said, proved fruitless for years.
“All we can do is complain, complain, complain,” Bacchus said. “This is ridiculous! Anywhere else, man, they been come out here and fix this hole. But up in here, they don’t care.”
Neighbor Dwight Fernandez said the problem started back in 2016 when a pipe burst beneath the street.
“They came out, repaired it, it hasn’t leaked since. But they never came to close the hole back up,” Fernandez said.
He filed a complaint with the Sewerage and Water Board, asking for help to repair the work their crews performed.
“They came out one time, put the barricades back up, but still never filled up the hole, and it’s 2019 right now,” Fernandez said.
The hole became a home for weeds, trash and barricades.
“Everybody tries to keep their homes up and grass cut and everything, and each day you have to look at this hole when you’re trying to get home,” Fernandez said.
Bacchus said it became dangerous, especially in a heavy rain.
“This street here, man, we had water up to here and everything just flew across. Nobody know where the hole at then,” Bacchus said.
As a former worker with the Jefferson Parish drainage department, Bacchus said it’s unacceptable that any crew would let a job like this linger.
Fed up and frustrated, he and other neighbors reached out to the FOX 8 Defenders for help.
“We’ve been calling and calling," Bacchus said. "Finally somebody come out. Glad to see y’all out here!”
We reached out to the Sewerage and Water Board for answers. A spokesman said the agency was aware of the problem, but it turns out that the broken line wasn’t fully fixed when crews first addressed it. They say a number of other issues on neighboring streets need to be addressed first in order to prevent a loss in water pressure - and possibly a boil water advisory - if they performed the work. A day after we first asked about the Sewerage and Water Board pothole, crews showed up at Pauger and Duels with a temporary fix. They removed the trash, tree and other weeds from the pothole and filled it with gravel. New barricades stand on top of the gravel, warning drivers to avoid the spot.
Neighbors tell us, while they're glad the hole is covered, they wish the problem would be fixed permanently to avoid this situation happening again in the future.
If you’ve got a consumer complaint, call the FOX 8 Defenders staffed with volunteers from the National Council of Jewish Women at at 1-877-670-6397, or fill out our online complaint form.