'This happens way too much’: N.O. residents fed up after Mother’s Day flooding

Mother's Day flooding leave residents frustrated with Sewerage and Water Board

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - After waking up to find his new apartment flooded Sunday (May 12), a 20-year New Orleans resident said he is reaching his limit.

Ryan Murray sat with his dog, Moose, Saturday afternoon outside a Mid-City bar, waiting for a call from his landlord who was working to get the water out of his apartment.

“[I] Got about two feet and a half feet of water in there,” Murray said.

He said he woke up around 5 a.m. to the sound of flash flood alerts from his phone.

“I gut out of bed just to see how bad the rain was,” Murray recalled. “I stepped down, and realized my entire apartment was flooded.”

Murray said he moved into his new home the week before and many of his belongings were still in boxes. But, the main thing he cared about was not inside a box.

“My biggest concern is if I were at work, and [Moose] was in his cage and that had happened. He would’ve drowned in his cage,” Murray said.

After living in the city for two decades, Murray said he’s ridden through it all. But now, he’s not sure how much longer he’ll stay.

“I can’t come home to a drowned dog. I’m just not going to do that,” Murray said. “This happens way too much. You’d think it’d be a cost versus reward issue. [That] they’d get to the point where they’d say, ‘it’s not worth it for the city to have cars and homes and property and animals destroyed with this kind of frequency.’”

And Murray wasn’t the only resident left in high water on Mother’s Day.

While more than five inches of rain fell in parts of New Orleans overnight, the Sewerage and Water board said the city saw two inches in just an hour Sunday morning, outpacing the drainage system. There was widespread street flooding, cars were submerged and homes took on water.

Related: S&WB: New Orleans hit with more than 5 inches of rain overnight

Some residents were left stranded after they drove into the rising water. Israel Fawle found himself stuck after trying to make it through an underpass on Carrollton Avenue Sunday morning.

“The car stalled and as the car stalled, I was ‘like what is going on.’ I was trying to kick it up and then I was trying to open up and then I saw there’s water here,” Fawle said.

Fawle said he didn’t see the standing water until it was too late.

“I couldn’t do anything. The water was coming from all angles,” Fawle said. “I had to open the door and quickly get out of the car when I saw the rush of the water and how the water was moving.”

Fawle had to wait nearly 10 hours before the water receded enough for him to get his car.

According to Sewerage and Water Board, 115 of the city’s 120 pumps were being used during the overnight storms. One of the pumps near City Park did lose power around 5 a.m. after Entergy lost service in the area,. However, a SWB spokesman said it had little effect on the flooding and that particular pump wouldn’t have been in use during that time anyway, because the water in the canal was not high enough.

Still, residents like Murray said whatever the Sewerage and Water Board is doing, it isn’t enough.

“I find it ridiculous this happens so often in the city,” he said. “I can’t go through disaster every other year. I can’t afford to do that every other year.”

Officials said street flooding was reported throughout many areas of the city, forcing RTA services to be suspended until noon and several roads to be closed. New Orleans public safety agencies responded to nearly 200 emergency calls related to the flooding.

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