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People frustrated over repeat flood events, want answers

2 months 1 week 1 day ago Tuesday, May 18 2021 May 18, 2021 May 18, 2021 6:45 PM May 18, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - There are never-ending flooding issues for people living and working along S. Acadian Thruway. The stretch near I-10 fills with water often and it happened again Monday night.

It came up fast, like Jim Urdiales says it always does. This time, about three feet inside Mestizo restaurant.

"That's probably the most water we've ever taken in the restaurant. 2016 was pretty bad, but I think this kind of surpassed it," Urdiales said.

A cleaning crew there Tuesday vacuumed up the damage. The sheetrock will come out next.

Urdiales says he's seriously considering removing carpeting from the building altogether. May is a busy month at Mestizo with graduation parties and catering, and this flood couldn't have come at a worse time. But Urdiales says he's looking ahead to the future.

"In 22 years of business, I've been through valleys plenty of times and—you know—I'll get through this one as well. But it's frustrating," he said.

It's just as frustrating for Robby Huey, who's stacked up his furniture on milk crates inside his house on the other side of Acadian.

"It's like a drill you have to go through every time there's a threat of rain," Huey said.

Huey lives on Honeysuckle Avenue and his yard backs up to Dawson Creek. He's lost track of how many times he's flooded. He says he sat in his house Monday night as water crept up over his ankles. He sat and waited for it to go back down.

"That's the most helpless feeling in the world," he said.

The water line on the outside of his house measures 17 inches. Inside, he took on about seven inches - something he calls an "everyday occurrence."

Some homes along Honeysuckle Avenue are on lists to be torn down or elevated, like one down the street from Huey that was raised a couple of weeks ago. Huey is waiting in line for his home to be bought out by the state. It's been three years since his name was first put on a list and he's still waiting.

"It's time to move on," he said. "Bring the whatever in and just tear it down."

Huey has also been waiting for flood mitigation work to be done, including the clearing of creeks and bayous downstream. Urdiales is waiting too.

"I think people have a right to ask questions about the money that was allocated to the drainage mitigation issues... And where's that money and has it been spent?" Urdiales said. "I mean, Dawson Creek probably flooded within an hour."

According to the city-parish and the Corps of Engineers, it's still waiting to get plans in order before contracts are awarded. Homeowners and business owners remain on alert as they sit and wonder when the next time will be.

Multiple homes on Honeysuckle Avenue flooded. Huey says he has filed a flood insurance claim. Urdiales says he hopes to have Mestizo reopened by the end of the week.

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