Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The light at the end of the culvert is actually a lawsuit

SELA berm
Napoleon Avenue Demilitarized Zone April 2016

Snoopy JPEG
WWI Flying Ace somewhere along the Western Front

SELA schecule circa 2012
A SELA timeline published in the Times Picayune January 2012.

It was supposed to have been mostly wrapped up by now. But the still ongoing SELA work has not even yet begun to generate the legal claims.
Even as four of the six big Uptown New Orleans drainage projects are winding down this year, litigation continues over the long-running construction work. More than 221 property owners are suing the Sewerage and Water Board, alleging that roadwork on major thoroughfares cut off customer access to their businesses or caused "earthquake-like vibrations" that damaged their houses.

The S&WB said it already has paid more than $17.2 million to settle claims over these and other projects in the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project. "We are working closely with claimants who have approached us directly through our claims process to resolve their concerns in an efficient and cost effective manner," said Nolan Lambert, an attorney for the agency.
I spend a fair amount of time in the vicinity of Napoleon Avenue. That 2014 completion date is pretty funny. It's now expected to finish this November but, well, we'll see. Anyway, one thing I can verify is the little earthquakes are real.
On Napoleon Avenue, where the first of two big drainage projects totaling almost $100 million began almost five years ago, residents have been vocal about their complaints. Peggy Littlejohn, for example, said the construction caused cracks to appear in her house and ruined her grass as crews dug up the road in front to reach the underground pipes.

Napoleon Avenue resident Angele Dassel's suit, filed by attorney Mike Whitaker, says the work blocked access to properties and decries "earthquake-like vibrations" from construction equipment and trucks. Whitaker said his firm and the Bruno & Bruno firm are representing owners of 200 properties.
Whatever, though, as long as none of the complaints does anything to slow the work up, I'm all for these people getting paid.  It's been fun watching them dig up the road for half a decade. But the sooner they put the trees back, the better.

Napoleon Avenue summertime

Update: Meanwhile, a brief afternoon thunderstorm seems to have flooded a lot of the city and Uptown especially today. So, you know, progress.

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