BY TERRY L. JONES | PUBLISHED JUL 28, 2019
Water systems experts and civil engineers say the ideal solutions to the flash flooding that’s becoming more frequent in East Baton Rouge Parish during torrential rains are expensive and would take years to implement.
But residents of one of Baton Rouge’s oldest neighborhoods, which has gotten swamped by storm water at least 14 times within the past five years, are demanding the city-parish immediately address what they call decades of mismanagement with the municipal drainage system.
The flash flooding during the June 6 storm served as a final straw for many in the Garden District, where residents have organized to push the city-parish to address the drainage deficiencies they say are responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage on one street alone.
“Any time there is an intense rain, our street fills up like a lake,” said Thomas Douthat. “It drains fast afterwards, so I don’t think it’s solely about there being blockage. With all the rapid growth, I don’t think the city has really looked at the problem comprehensively.”
Douthat lives on Cherokee Street in the Garden District. During the heavy rains the morning of June 6, storm water rushed into the backroom of the home he purchased with his wife in 2018, causing $4,000 in damage. The couple’s vehicles were also flooded, the repairs for which cost more than $2,000 in total, he said.