NEW ORLEANS - The exact cause of Entergy's power outage in parts of downtown New Orleans and the Warehouse District is still under investigation.
But, witnesses reported seeing smoke coming from an underground vault at the corner of St. Joseph and Carondelet Streets shortly before the lights went dark around nine Thursday morning.
'I've seen pictures floating around of some smoke coming up out of the street,' said ENO spokesman Philip Allison. 'Whether that was an actually fire or some smoke or the situation was, we don't know at this point.'
The power outage affected about 1,500 customers.
There was an accident with injuries at Girod and O'Keefe where traffic lights weren't working. The outage also emptied the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board main offices on St. Joseph and other nearby buildings.
Some downtown law firms didn't get much work done this morning.
'The phones are not ringing,' said attorney Robert Jenkins. 'We can't file anything. I was in federal court this morning. It didn't effect the federal proceedings because apparently it's not on that side of it.'
The Bureau of Governmental Research worked from home Thursday.
'We've had to send everybody home,' said BGR President Janet Howard. 'It's dark as can be inside that building and a few generators lights here and there, but no access to computers, etc.' According to Entergy, it is always more difficult to restore power in the CBD and Warehouse Districts where power lines are underground.
'Generally speaking any outage that you have with an underground line, it's going to take longer to repair than anything with an overhead line,' said Allison.
Entergy restored power to the area shortly after 12:30 pm.