Downtown New Orleans business owners seek help after recurring floods

CBD Flooding Issues

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - One of the CBD’s newer hotels got another scare from this weekend's rain event and guests were today being inconvenienced.

They are not the only downtown building being plagued by recurring rain events and concern is growing.

Jayla Barnes enjoyed her weekend stay at the glitzy, renovated Jung Hotel but her last impression was not a good one.

Barnes had to take her baby out of her stroller to negotiate the 14 inch barrier set up around the hotels main entrance due to this weekends rain scare.

“It was pretty bad,” she said, as the baby cried in the background.

Though mini flood wall precautions kept most of the water out Saturday, it was nowhere near as bad as what occurred 10 days ago as Hurricane Barry gained strength.

“Our owner invested $145 million in this property to show his commitment, yet this area continues to flood,” said Jung General Manager Mark Wilson on July 10.

That rain event flooded the Jung’s basement and several other downtown buildings including the Tidewater building next door where sheet rock repairs are ongoing, in spite of it’s own mini levee system.

The flood protection does not create the kind of entry or exit way that any hotel manager would envy, and the owner of the Jung has been setting up meetings with city officials to try and deal with this ongoing problem.

"We need to get to the bottom of this, and need to get to the bottom of this unprecedented flooding," said Kurt Weigle with the Downtown Development District.

New Orleans City Councilman Joe Giarusso who’s council committee oversees drainage issues worries about repeated flooding and the impact on economic development

"Zulu has been flooded four times in the last three years, and it's right next to a pump station," said Giarusso.

$50 million dollars will soon be available from the fair share program to help purchase new equipment.

“Catch basin cleaning will be almost doubled, more 'suck; trucks being out in the street, we will triple our inventory,” said New Orleans CAO Gilbert Montano.

But downtown business owners worry about how much more, they and their guests may have to endure.

In spite of drainage issues, the DDD says there were $300 million dollars in new construction permits issued for Canal St. last year.

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