FOX 8 Defenders: Drivers fed up with potholes, flooded ditches on Old Gentilly Rd.

Updated: Feb. 12, 2020 at 5:55 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - “The street is real bad. I don’t see why nothings been done about the street itself. The street is so bad,” says Chris Buggage.

There are potholes, broken up concrete and ditches filled with water on both sides of the roadway. Truck drivers say it’s difficult.

“We can kind of figure our way through a little bit, but it’s very bad as far as that water rising,” says Buggage.

“Every time there’s a heavy rainfall, the streets flood constantly,” says Kevin Palazzo.

During last week’s rain storm, it didn’t matter what kind of vehicle you were driving.

“The street just filled up to where you can’t even see the street. If you’re not driving a big truck or an suv, it’s almost impossible to make it,” says Palazzo.

Kevin Palazzo is the manager of Six, a trucking company, along the roadway. He says one vehicle after another started sinking.

“Vehicles were coming down the street, realizing that they couldn’t make it through and decided they couldn’t make it through. They decided to turn around in the middle of the street and because the water was so deep, they didn’t realize there was a ditch,” says Palazzo.

Palazzo says seven vehicles, from large 18-wheelers to small SUV’s, fell in. In one case, he says a 70-year-old woman as behind the wheel.

“She was stuck in the car for probably 30 minutes as the car started filling up with water. It was cold, wet and raining that day. We pulled five of them out, and after that I said let’s let them call the wrecker so at least the city or somebody will see what’s going on,” says Palazzo.

The company fired off a letter to the city of New Orleans last Friday showing the pictures and asking for help. Palazzo says from a business side, the situation simply isn’t fair for a company that pays $16,000 a year in taxes.

Keith LaGrange with the city’s Department of Public Works says in the coming weeks, the city plans to utilize existing culverts in driveways to increase the flow of water into the ditches. Palazzo, though, worries about the next time it rains.

“If we get another two inches of rain, it’s going to all happen again,” says Palazzo.

The city also says it plans to install temporary poles with reflective signs on the road to help people distinguish between the roadway and the ditches.

The long term plan is to re-establish all ditches on Old Gentilly Road between I-510 and Chef.

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