Usually when it rains, I think to myself, “Oh geez, hopefully I can find a story that’s happening inside!” But yesterday when I woke up to the sound of rain drops smacking my roof, I knew a story outside would be necessary.
A couple of weeks ago, I covered a story about a neighborhood who has been dealing with poor water for years now. They complained that the water tasted like soap and stains their clothes. I was aghast at the water conditions these people have to deal with on a daily basis. I mean the water quality is like third world conditions. The water company that provides the sewage and water systems, the Louisiana Water Company (LWC), has had trouble for a number of years. In fact, their company president, Jeff Pruett was sentenced to federal prison in June of 2011 for breaking federal water safety rules. You don’t even want to know what they found in the water while they were investigating. Needless to say, the conditions of the company haven’t been stellar since then.
Here is the story I covered about that issue.
While I was knocking on doors trying to get a feel for how the residents felt about their water, one issue kept coming up: sewage backup when it rains. Everybody told me that they’ve learned to cope with their water by buying bottled water and using tons of bleach when doing their laundry, but the sewage problems they couldn’t handle. They told me that the LWC sewage lines always back up whenever there is a heavy rainfall which prevents them from flushing their toilets and sometimes fills their backyards with sewage. I promised them that I would come back and dedicate a story to their sewage problems. So, when I woke up to dogs and cats raining outside of my window yesterday morning, I knew what I had to do.
I grabbed my rainboots, suited up my camera with a dvc pro rain jacket, put on my red coat with a huge hood and headed toward the Ouachita neighborhood. Once I got there the streets were already filling with water and I felt very grateful for my rainboots. By the time I shot my stand up in the street, the water was nearly to my knees!
One man banding isn’t usually so bad, but when it is raining and you are trying to keep your camera, other equipment and yourself dry, things can get complicated. Although it was a little bit difficult, I found it helped to think of my camera like a small child, to make sure it was dry and warm first before I could start worrying if I was getting soaked. I mean, it was really storming!
All in all, I’m glad I went out there to give voices to the people that have been struggling with their water and sewage company. The Monroe City Council is voting tonight to sell clean city water to those in the Parish that have been struggling. We’ll see how that goes, for the sake of all the people I met in the Millhaven Neighborhood, I hope it passes. Here is the package about the sewage back up.
I’ll embed the videos later once I’ve uploaded them.