New Orleans endures more summer flooding Aug. 5; city officials provide updates on pumps, parking

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Flooding near Banks and Carrollton Aug. 5. - PHOTO BY KEVIN ALLMAN
  • PHOTO BY KEVIN ALLMAN
  • Flooding near Banks and Carrollton Aug. 5.

As rains died down after 9 p.m. Aug. 5, both lanes of Banks Street in Mid-City were covered in several inches of standing water, with cars parked as close to houses and up against buildings and on neutral grounds to avoid creeping floods that submerged dozens of cars in the neighborhood.

A few people with their feet in the water sat in picnic benches outside Finn McCool's Irish Pub. Around the corner, Twelve Mile Limit only narrowly avoided water coming into the front door despite the bar standing only slightly above street level. Passing cars, however, frequently sent waves into the doorway and into nearby cars and porches, as residents braced for another round of impact after enduring a few hours of rain with seemingly nowhere for it to go.

New Orleans received 8 to 10 inches of rain in many parts of the city as an afternoon downpour on Aug. 5 flooded homes and cars and trapped people on roads. Residents pulled out kayaks and canoes or waded through shin- and waist-deep water across Mid-City, Gentilly, Treme, Lakeview and parts of Uptown and downtown.

"These no-notice rain and flooding events can be very dangerous, but luckily, there was no loss of life," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu in a statement. "We begin the hard work of assisting those who flooded and getting our streets passable for regular traffic. With additional rain expected today and the rest of this week, I would encourage all of our residents to clean in front of their catch basins."

Frustrated residents sounded off on social media as the city grappled with another round of flooding after 4 inches of water flooded parts of New Orleans last month.

City officials once again assured all pumps are working and able to pump out an inch of water in the first hour and a half-inch every hour after. But after 8 to 10 inches over a few hours (with as much as 2 inches an hour in some areas), the pumps were overwhelmed and couldn't keep up with the pace of the rain.

“There is no drainage system in the world that can handle that immediately,” Sewerage and Water Board director Cedric Grant told WWL-TV last night. “We have these kinds of rains every month and it’s not just us — It’s the rest of the country that’s experiencing the same weather patterns. ... We have a fairly significant system, one of the most significant in the world, but we're in a situation now where we receive more rain than anybody could have imagined on a recurring basis. This system is doing everything it can to address that."

According to the city, however, permanent pump stations at the 17th Street Canal, London Avenue Canal and Orleans Avenue Canal "were not operational as they are intended for use during a tropical storm surge event when the flood gates are closed. They are not operational during heavy rains only."


City officials urged people to stay off the roads, though there are no road closures, and the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) will ticket drivers going over 5 mph. Cars can remain parked on neutral grounds.

People who left their cars behind should move their cars to the sides of the road, and Department of Public Works and NOPD may "courtesy tow" cars if they're blocking intersections or roads. Stranded cars on highways and major thoroughfares also could be towed to the city's impound lots, but drivers won't be charged.

Officials said more than two dozen people were evacuated, but there were no reported life-threatening injuries. Officials advise people to call 3-1-1 to report any non-threatening emergencies like road and debris issues. 3-1-1 will take calls on those issues through 6 p.m. tonight.

Trash collection will resume as normal Aug. 7. The city advises that "tree limbs, branches and carpeting must be cut in four feet (or less) lengths and bundled," and leaves and other yard debris should be bagged and secured.

The city also has a website with help about filing insurance claims for flood damage.

If you got water in your car, here's what you can do. according to State Farm Insurance. You may need to get an oil change or service immediately, and check with your insurance provider for next steps.


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