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Garden District residents looking for answers after continuous flooding

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BATON ROUGE - Garden District homeowners are fed up with frequent flooding and asking city-parish officials to do something to stop roads from turning into rivers.

Rebeca de Jesus Crespo moved with her family to Cherokee Street in January. She and her husband researched areas that flooded in 2016 before purchasing a home.

"We picked the Garden District because we wanted to live in a walkable neighborhood," Crespo says.

However, since moving in, Crespo has seen numerous instances of flash flooding outside her front door.

"The street floods every time there is a very intense rain event," Crespo says.

On June 6, during widespread flooding across Baton Rouge, Crespo's home did take on some water. Her cars also ended up with water damage.

"It passed the patio and entered into this playroom where basically all my kids' toys are," Crespo said. "It completely flooded this area."

Wednesday night, Crespo and her neighbors met with city-parish officials to see what solutions were available to prevent future flooding.

"I don't have all the answers to you for tonight," East Baton Rouge Drainage Director, Fred Raiford said.

Even with crews out cleaning ditches and drains regularly, Raiford says streets will always take on some water.

"I would rather water be in the street than in my house," Raiford said. "Certainly it doesn't need to be a river, but when you get those big rain events, that's going to happen."

Crespo and her family want to see proactive maintenance and further research into why the area is flooding. However, if things don't improve, she says they'll have no choice but to move.

"If it becomes a widespread problem throughout this neighborhood we're just going to have to go to the suburbs and commute like everybody else is doing," Crespo says.

Officials expect to know more about longterm solutions when the multi-million dollar stormwater management plan is complete.

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