Thursday, September 15, 2016
The first hole was dug right at my front gate. It was done in July by Cimmaron, a contractor for Entergy, our New Orleans gas and electric utility. One morning, a man named Felipe knocked on my door and explained that they were upgrading the gas lines. A white spray-painted marking on the sidewalk showed where the hole would be dug.
So in front of every house in my block, a hole perhaps 2' x 3' was cut in the concrete sidewalk, and a deep pit opened up down to the gas lines. These pits were encircled by orange plastic fencing. They remained open for weeks while workers ran new lines under the ground from pit to pit.
When they were finished, sometime in mid-August, the workers filled the pits with sand. They removed the orange fencing, and circled the sandy holes with yellow caution tape.
Finally, in early September, they returned with a cement truck, and laid down fresh concrete.
This was repeated in every block of the Bywater. First you'd see the white painted markings, then would come the concrete cutting and the prising up of the sidewalk. Then would come the backhoe, digging the pit; the workers with the pipes, and the ubiquitous orange fencing.
Each block is like an obstacle course for walking. There are orange fenced pits, or yellow taped sandholes. There is mud and sand in the gutters. The white markings advance downriver - from Bartholomew to Mazant, then to France. Now there's an open pit in front of Vaughan's Lounge on Lesseps. When I walk the dog, I walk down the middle of the street to avoid the mud and the holes.
Now it's mid September, and Bartholomew Street has been made whole; the pits have been filled and paved with fresh, new, white concrete. The rains are slowly washing away the mud.
Yesterday, walking home from Vaughans, I noticed on the ground spray-painted markings in yellow. Some were even marked right over the new fresh concrete.
This morning, coming home from the dog park, I saw a cluster of workers in dayglo lime vests hanging out in my street. The vests were labeled "Sewerage and Water Board." A back-hoe rumbled up, with a jack-hammer attachment on the boom. The digging began.
Yes. Now another utility is digging up the streets of the Bywater. Will it ever stop?