Office Park highlights more drainage problems they say have gone unaddressed for years
BATON ROUGE- More than 2 dozen offices flooded for the first time in more than 20 years at Camden Office Park off Summa Avenue leaving residents out of patience.
"We got some rain and it flooded, we got two feet in the back of the offices that face the canal,” said Mustafa Mohammad, the office complex part owner.
The owners' frustration is now boiling over because the city-parish has not answered their complaints about drainage. They blame the flooding on the building of Our Lady of the Lake Children's hospital and drainage that they say needs a major update.
"I'd like them to come out and take responsibility, we hold them directly liable for this. Since 2008 we have been trying to get them to simply take care of the drainage in these canals,” said Mohammad.
Mustafa's family has emailed the parish for 12 years with complaints. In 2020 alone they have sent multiple emails. One in May talked about their complex flooding from mild rain, another in June worried about rain from Tropical Storm Cristobol. Then two more in August and another in October. All with pictures and videos of flooding from mild rain. One of those videos includes highwaters just from Sunday’s storms.
"If the rain didn't stop when it did, we would have flooded again,” said Mohammad.
Mohammad told WBRZ that they have not received any responses to those emails. Randy Rice, another office owner, is facing the same battle.
“We're a small business not a big business so we need help so we can stay in business,” said Rice.
He also sent dozens of emails and even talked to council members about the issue. Rice says the topic ends up getting swept under the table with no action.
“This needs to be dredged out and something permanent done, not where we have debris and sticks and things growing out of the canal. That does nothing, but hurt the flow of the water that is already an issue,” said Rice.
WBRZ reached out to the city-parish who says the ditch behind Camden Office is a part of their herbicide spray program, which means they send crews twice a year to spray the ditches to remove vegetation. Mustafa says it's going to take a lot more than that.
“They can spray this canal once a week. Our problem isn't getting the canal sprayed, it's that we don't have sufficient drainage for this area,” said Mohammad.
The city parish says they plan to also remove sedimentation from the ditch to help with drainage. They did not comment on the emails.