Accusations fly in flooding aftermath

Updated: Aug. 9, 2017 at 10:26 AM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Many unanswered questions remain about what went wrong with the city's pumping system during Saturday's flooding.

The city says nearly five inches of rain fell in Lakeview on Saturday. Other parts of the city saw more.

But many of the pumping stations were either broken of working at only half capacity.

The revelation came during a five-hour special city council meeting Tuesday.

Before that meeting had even started, Sewage and Water Board Executive Director Cedric Grant released a statement announcing his intention to retire this Fall.

In that statement, Grant said his "staff was not forthright" and that additional personnel actions are needed to restore confidence in the organization.

The Sewerage and Water Board initially said seven pumps across the city were down Saturday for scheduled maintenance. But that number was doubled to 14. Eight of those were broken.

Council members also questioned the Sewerage and Water Board's Superintendent Joe Becker during yesterday's meeting.

They expressed their frustration at responses as they tried to find out exactly how well the pumps were operating Saturday.

"If your heart was operating at 52 percent, I think you'd notice a difference," City Council President Jason Williams said. "You owe the people a real apology for the information that's been put out. I agree. I agree. You really do. Absolutely. You really do."

Council member Latoya Cantrell said the city has been lied to.

"We have been told lies and that's the truth," Cantrell said. "We are so sick and tired of not being told what the facts are in order for us to create real solutions to address the infrastructure problems that we have in the city of New Orleans."

Landrieu has asked for Becker and the Sewage and Water Board's Communications Director Lisa Martin to resign.

Elsewhere business, residents and iconic New Orleans institutions are cleaning up after the flooding.

The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club starts its cleanup after Saturday's flooding.

The Zulu headquarters was inundated by flood water from Saturday's rain near the corner of North Broad and Orleans Avenue.

Clarence Becknell, Zulu Historian expressed frustration with the city over the damage the rising water caused, not only to its facilities on Broad Street but also to the community as a whole.

Naaman Stewart described the situation as "Distressing and depressing," said Naaman Stewart.
Stewart said Zulu members are gutting and cleaning now and will rebuild and repair.

While insurance will pay for the repairs, it will not replace certain sentimental items in the memorabilia store.

Stewart said the krewe lost much of its 2018 Mardi Gras throws in addition to commercial appliances and furniture.

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