infrastructure

Travis Lux / WWNO

 

New Orleans is a city that floods. Even a small storm can leave streets impassable. City officials say they’re working on solutions, but they’re also asking citizens to help out.

All this week we’ve aired stories about how prepared the city is for the threats that climate change will bring — heavier rains, bigger storms, extreme temperatures — and there are some serious doubts. That’s why some people are taking matters into their own hands.

Michael Isaac Stein / The Lens

Scientists say climate change will bring heavier rains and more intense storms. City officials have acknowledged that New Orleans needs to rethink how it deals with rain — by reducing reliance on mechanical pumps and managing the water where it falls.

Thanks to a post-Katrina settlement with FEMA, the city has more than $2 billion to fix streets and drainage — a perfect opportunity to try some new ideas. But will it?

Travis Lux / WWNO

Major floods last summer thrust infrastructure and drainage issues into the limelight. And new Mayor LaToya Cantrell has made them a top priority for her administration. She has championed the approach to water management outlined in the city's Urban Water Plan — which emphasizes “green infrastructure” solutions like soaking up rain water instead of pumping it out. But that plan is largely unfunded.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

Sinkholes. Potholes. The streets of New Orleans are full of them. No matter how you get around — by bus, car, bike — you've probably seen (and felt) your fair share of them. 

WWNO's Coastal Desk is hosting a sinkhole and pothole tour in Mid-City on May 12, in collaboration with The Lens and iSeeChange, and we'd love for you to join us. 

Scott Akerman / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Sewerage and Water Board answered questions from New Orleans city council members Tuesday about the impact of last week’s freeze, but the agency is still taking stock.

Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana

Mayoral candidates Desiree Charbonnet and Latoya Cantrell discussed water issues at a debate Wednesday night.

 

But it wasn’t much of a debate. Turns out, they actually agree on more than they disagree when it comes to water issues.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, we're talking about the recent floods.

Heavy rains flooded portions of New Orleans last weekend. In the days since, we've learned that there are mechanical problems with the city’s drainage equipment — not only with the pumps, but also with the generators that power them.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The Sewerage and Water Board generator that caught fire this week is back up and running.

 

There are five generators that power the city’s pumping system on the East Bank — all areas west of the Industrial Canal. Only two were working prior to Saturday’s floods.

 

Wednesday night, one of them caught fire and was rendered inoperable for more than 24 hours. That left the city even more vulnerable to flooding, and prompted two days of school closures. On Thursday both Governor John Bel Edwards and Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed emergency declarations as precautionary measures.

Tegan Wendland / WWNO

The city’s ability to pump water has been diminished once more after a Sewerage and Water Board power generator caught fire Wednesday night.

 

The new outage affects the East Bank of New Orleans — all areas west of the Industrial Canal. That includes neighborhoods like Lakeview, Mid City and Treme, which had already seen the worst of the city’s flooding this weekend.

Jessica Rosgaard / WWNO

Gov. John Bel Edwards toured flood damage in New Orleans Monday. Edwards and Mayor Mitch Landrieu spoke to business owners and residents in the Treme where cleanup is underway.

Windell Bean’s family has owned their home on St. Ann for 53 years. Other than Katrina, the house hasn’t flooded since 1978. That is until Saturday, when it took on 4 inches of water.

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