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Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Concrete canal erodes, causes sinkhole in neighbor's yard

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BATON ROUGE - A homeowner says she's been having trouble with her cable and internet for a while but had no idea it was linked to the earth in her backyard moving. It's something she's worried about for the last decade, and it finally became a big problem last month.

Mechele Evans says there's been a trouble spot in her backyard for years, but the earth finally gave way a few weeks ago.

"That happened on the 20th, I was at work and lost internet and came back to look," Evans said.

She found a large hole in the corner of her yard. It dips down into the concrete-lined drainage canal on the other side of her fence. A large section of that concrete canal has broken apart and the land has washed away under another section. It also took out a large tree. The utilities in that corner of her property have been exposed and uprooted.

"It was very surprising and a little scary," she said.

The city-parish came out when the land fell last month and put up an orange fence. Evans said she was told then by a parish representative that someone would get back to her within a few days. A couple of weeks went by and she didn't hear anything. That's when she reached out to 2 On Your Side.

Tuesday, 2 On Your Side contacted the city-parish, and someone came out to Evans' home that same day to take a look and offer a solution. Evans says this whole thing could have been avoided a long time ago.

"We actually noticed there was a problem when we purchased the house in 2010," she said. "It didn't look that serious, we figured we would report it to the city and it would get fixed. We did that within a month of buying the property."

Evans says she first reported the issue to the city-parish 10 years ago. She says she's called a few times over the years with reminders.

"They told us it would get on a list," she said.

Evans isn't sure where that list is and fears for all the other people who are also on that list waiting. She's happy things are moving a bit faster now, since that supervisor visit from the city-parish earlier this week.

"He said this was a top priority and after Entergy marked where all of the utilities were that they'd probably get started next week," Evans said.

Entergy came out Wednesday to mark the utilities, and now Evans is already looking forward to having her property back.

"Being able to access all of my yard and not losing anymore of it," she said.

She's also looking forward to not worrying about whether or not her utilities will be interrupted.

The city-parish says that the section of concrete in the canal will get a temporary patch soon. It will later be addressed in the five-tributary project that's supposed to get started in the next few months. It has been delayed as the parish works to secure property for construction equipment.

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