NEW ORLEANS — Monuments, hurricanes, tornadoes … It was a busy year in the New Orleans news business.
From December 25-December 29, WGNO-News with a Twist is bringing you the top 10 stories of the year — the ones you clicked on most — two at a time.
The rain started early afternoon on August 5. It was a Saturday. It came down, then came down some more, and by the end of a few hours, several neighborhoods in New Orleans — from Mid-City to Lakeview and beyond — were flooded.
Cars were totaled by floodwaters, and some homes and businesses sustained water damage.
It was an extreme rain event, worsened by what we later learned were serious failures with the city’s pumping systems. Those failures, caused by a series of missteps from the Sewerage and Water Board, led to the early retirement of S&WB Director Cedric Grant and a total revamp of leadership at the troubled agency.
The Sewerage and Water Board initially claimed that all pumps were functioning properly and attributed the widespread damage to climate change. It was later learned that up to 17 pumps were not functioning at full capacity during the rain event.
The city’s problems worsened a few days later, when a fire damaged the city’s only working turbine that operates the city’s water pumps.
An interim director has been hired at the Sewerage and Water Board. Marcie Edwards is being paid $25,000 a month, plus $5,000 a month for housing, to turn around the S&WB.
The Cajun Navy gained fame in 2016 when a group of South Louisianans got together and took their boats out to rescue people during historic floods in the Baton Rouge and Acadiana areas.
A year later, rescue groups from Louisiana -- apparently there is more than one group that calls itself the Cajun Navy -- went out again with their boats, this time to Houston, where Hurricane Harvey's floodwaters left thousands trapped.
One of the Cajun Navy group leaders said residents in Houston were panicked and firing guns as waters rose, making it dangerous for local rescue efforts.
Other groups affiliated with the Cajun Navy disputed those statements and continued rescuing stranded Houstonians.
More than 75 people died in Texas as a result of Hurricane Harvey.