Several New Orleans City Council members blasted the city’s response to Saturdays flooding and called for a special meeting to get answers next week.
Council President Jason Williams said the council will hold a public meeting Tuesday to get questions answered about the pumping system and the Sewerage and Water Board’s response.
Council members openly questioned if the city’s pumping stations were working correctly as heavy rains swamped New Orleans with between six to eight inches of rain.
The Sewerage and Water Board has maintained that the pumps were working properly.
“There is no drainage system in the world that can handle that immediately,” S&WB Executive Director Cedric Grant said while saying he was somewhat frustrated. “I continue to tell the people what this system can do. It's pretty amazing in that it can do one inch of rain in the first hour and a half an inch of rain every hour after that. We are dealing with 8 to 10 inches of rain in three hours. It is not going to be able to pump that in an hour.”
Councilwoman Susan Guidry said she is puzzled that the Broad Theater flooded even though it is located one block away from a pump station. Williams said the theater flooded in only two other instances: Hurricane Katrina and heavy rains on July 22.
Guidry said she also wants answers about why water rose in parts of the Lakeview neighborhood hours after heavy rains had stopped. City Hall has said that the water flowed to low areas in the neighborhood as the pumping stations caught up.
“Right now, we are just not satisfied with the information we are receiving about city flooding,” Councilmember LaToya Cantrell said.
Nadine Ramsey, who represents District C, echoed Cantrell, saying that the council has received conflicting information, including rainfall totals.
“If we can’t handle a bad storm, what will we do if there’s a hurricane,” Williams said.