Flooding fears continue as tropical depression threatens New Orleans

Business once flooded dreading potential for more street flooding

NEW ORLEANS -- "As we were little, my dad we were in the car, my dad would drive somewhere, he'd go, look kids we did that roof," said Tracy Schwander Alonzo, of Orleans Sheet Metal.

Orleans Sheet Metal Works opened up shop nearly 90 years ago.

Wednesday the family that runs the shop is in its fourth generation.  You may recognize some of the family's legacy on the city, with their decorative awnings, and roofing throughout.

"We cover the whole Gulf South region," Todd Schwander, Tracy's brother said.

Through the years, the business has seen its share of flooding with major storms, but nothing like this year.  Three times the shop has been affected by flood waters on Orleans Avenue.

"The first time a little bit forgiving, the next time, okay guys what's going on, now?  You have a small rain storm, but things still aren't fixed," Tracy Schwander said.

The siblings have had crews clean out the catch basins near their business, but they say the problem is beyond the basins, and lie in clogged and broken pipes underground.  So each time it floods, work stops, and costs add up.

"The two machines that were affected in this last go around, together they are $117,000," Todd Schwander said.

While the Schwanders are trying to stay, commercial real estate broker, Robert Hand at Louisiana Commerical Realty says some new businesses won't move in because of flood concerns.

"This is an economic problem; this should be at the top of the list, cause people have to have confidence that their businesses are not going to be affected."

"What we're going to plan to do we're going to lift machines."

Tracy and her brother Todd says for now they'll have to raise nearly everything inside their building up on boxes, but they wonder how much longer that will work.

"I mean do we consider closing the door, how is it going to affect our business for a 90-year-old business to have to up and move," Schwander said.

The next 90 years could depend on what city leaders will do next.

"If they can't protect us as their taxpayers that support the city than what are we going to do?"

© 2017 WWL-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment