NEW ORLEANS - It's an iconic symbol of New Orleans. The water meter logo became popular for jewelry and household items after Hurricane Katrina.
It continues to be popular as people across the country become fans of TV shows shot here. However, people in one neighborhood are angry after discovering that the real thing is missing and they have video to prove it.
As a native New Orleanian Heather Wright loves all the iconic symbols of the Crescent City. So do customers of her original 'Heather Elizabeth Designs' using local nostalgia.
"After Katrina, there was this bond amongst all New Orleanians that we were going to power through this and rebuild the city back. And we did," said Wright who has been making jewelry since 2002.
One of her favorites is the water meter. She has replicas hanging in her home.
"It's one of our unique calling cards and it has the crescent on it, which we're the Crescent City. So I just think people really identify with it," she said.
That is why she had a fit Saturday morning outside of her Mid-City home.
"I was carrying on. I was actually yelling in front of the house, 'I can't believe it's gone! I can't believe they took it!'"
The original water meter cover out front was gone. On social media she discovered several different postings that many originals were recently stolen in her neighborhood. Other people in the area got video of someone who appeared to take them at 2 o'clock on Friday afternoon.
"It's a shame that we can not keep good nice original things," said Mid-City resident June Raiford.
The online service eBay is filled with listings for water meter items and tops. Some are listed as replicas others as genuine. Heather called eBay and warned them that some could be city property.
"And eBay said that they couldn't really do anything about it because they had to hear from the police department," Wright recalls.
The deep hole is a health hazard, but the Sewage and Water Board says it has gotten no formal complaints from Mid-City, and says they replace the stolen covers with generic ones when they get reports. But it's the 100-year -old ones neighbors miss.
"Now we are seeing a real serious problem in our city's architectural history is being stolen. Stolen. said Wright.
To report city property theft call NOPD non-emergency line.
To have water meter covers replaced call 52-WATER.
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