SPCA, Councilman Brossett, Sewerage & Water Board officials speak at Gentilly Terrace meeting
A Louisiana SPCA representative, Councilman Jared Brossett, and New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board’s superintendent all presented at this month’s Gentilly Terrace & Gardens Improvement Association meeting, held on Wednesday, June 14. Respectively, they discussed SPCA’s services, historic district potential, and fixing a water main leak at Filmore and St. Roch Avenues.
Lori Haueser, community outreach director for the Louisiana SPCA, delivered a presentation on the services the organization provides to pet owners, potential pet owners, and concerned residents. Hauser affirmed that the Louisiana SPCA is only contracted to perform animal control services and that they have no authority over animal shelters in the state.
Services of the Louisiana SPCA, located on 1700 Mardi Gras Boulevard in the Westbank, include a community clinic, workshops and classes, feral cat programs, adoption programs, and more. Haueser explained how the nonprofit organization hosts many child-friendly activities with some programs offering carpooling for children to and from site locations.
Councilman Jared Brossett briefly spoke at the meeting to update the Gentilly Terrace neighborhood on current events and to hand out a copy of his office’s response to the association’s interest in starting a local Historic District Landmarks Commission (HDLC).
“HDLC coverage, as I’ve said in prior times about this issue, is something that the majority of the neighborhood should support, not just a few, not two people on the board, not three people in this neighborhood,” Brossett said.
Brossett encouraged the current Gentilly Terrace Improvement Association president Frank Rabalais to provide information to the neighborhood on a local HDLC and the function it serves. Brossett commented that through his experience with local historic districts, he understands that they can create costly scenarios for residents and homeowners.
“There are thousands of people that live in Gentilly Terrace,” Brossett affirmed. “Any change should affect the whole neighborhood, so the whole neighborhood should be involved in the process.”
Next, the General Superintendent of New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board (S&WB) Joe Becker explained the current “struggle” the organization is having with fixing a leak located at the intersection of Filmore and St. Roch Avenues that has been ongoing since January 2017. According to S&WB, the issue is that the repair involves a 50-inch water main that is part of the largest system in the city.
According to him, he is most worried about a repair of this large scale going wrong, as well as a boil water advisory being issued. “There’s a lot of people that are counting on this particular water main,” Becker said.
The large water main requires more than 20 valves to be operated before making the repair, and the repair itself requires a water closure that could have Gentilly and New Orleans East residents experiencing low water pressure for up to 8 hours. Becker explained that no one “dropped the ball” with this issue and that it isn’t a maintenance problem either; some of the valves underground have simply been in service for too long, some 60 years or more.
The hole that’s opened up at the intersection was described as a “pool” by Gentilly Terrace neighbors at the neighborhood meeting, and one citizen voiced his concerns in frustration that the hole has not been covered up yet, so children are liable to falling in.
The intersection sits across from a children’s playground and tennis court. The leak is small, but the longer it exists, the bigger the hole becomes.
Lisa Martin, Deputy Director of Communications, confirmed today (June 16) that the hole has been covered by metal plates as of this morning and that the valves to be operated before repair are down from twenty to five, if no complications arise.
“There’s no longer a big gaping hole filled with water,” Martin said.
The current S&WB plan is to complete a test run of the water closure this Saturday night (June 17), weather permitting.
The water closure is expected to be made in the next two weeks, so that the main repair can then be completed.
This article was updated at 1:50 p.m. to include comments from S&WB Deputy Director of Communications Lisa Martin.