A sight all too familiar

Published 3:40 pm Friday, April 26, 2013

Kimberly Hopson


LAPLACE – The streets of the Madewood Drive/Ormond Boulevard neighborhoods were submerged in foot-deep waters in minutes after rainy weather on Wednesday morning, and residents of the neighborhood said they are tired of dealing with the floods.

Retiree Herschel Davidson said the flooding happens in the area anytime it rains hard enough. Davidson blames the problem on poor drainage quality.

“All the time. They said the pumps are on, but I really don’t think they are on. If the pumps were working normally, it wouldn’t have been like this already. I’ve been in LaPlace for 40 years, and it’s never changed. This is the worst street around here,” said Davidson.

“That’s why I hate to see hurricane season coming — if we get another Isaac, it’s going to be bad. During Isaac, we had a lot of cars stall right there,” he said, pointing at the street where the water was deepest. “People had to get wreckers to come get their cars.”

Despite his feelings, Davidson said he has not addressed the issue with the parish or been to council meetings concerning the issue. He noted that his neighbor has brought up the issue with the parish more than once, and nothing has been done about it.

As he spoke, a woman in a van drove past Davidson’s house — her vehicle sputtered and nearly stalled as she drove through water nearly as high as the bottom of her vehicle door.

“I think what’s important to know is that we had three inches of rain in less than an hour and a half, so that’s a flash flood. There’s going to be an accumulation of water in great volume in a short period of time, but after the rain stops it drains,” said Parish President Natalie Robottom.

Robottom said that it’s important for citizens to understand that most of the parish drains by gravity and that every street does not have a pump to drain off the water. Robottom said her team does what it can to prepare for bad weather, and they are currently working with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to fix the flooding problem in areas such as Belle Terre Boulevard.

“Every time it rains, we’re concerned,” said Robottom. “On a regular basis my staff and I are constantly concerned about the weather, what’s going to happen and the preparations we make. And we do make preparations — our teams go out and check everything, but the system we have, we inherited, so every ounce of it is not protected by pumps.”