NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Workers looking for blockages in an underground New Orleans drainage canal found the usual mucky debris — and at least one car.
Heavy equipment hoisted the wreck out of the Lafitte Canal on Thursday, a day after the city’s Sewerage and Water Board announced its discovery. It was found using an amphibious vehicle and underwater camera during an inspection ordered after parts of the city flooded during a July 10 deluge as Hurricane Barry was forming off the coast.
How and when the car got there remains unknown. The board’s news release says the canal has large open sections that render it vulnerable to large obstructions.
Board Executive Director Ghasan Korban said debris that still must be removed may include parts of other cars.
“We’re a little surprised at the magnitude and scale of the debris we found, obviously, including the car,” Korban told reporters at the scene Thursday.
Korban became executive director of the Sewerage and Water Board — the agency that handles storm drainage and drinking water systems in the city — a year ago amid continuing reforms that began after flash floods in August 2017 exposed myriad problems there.
He said his agency is planning to implement regular inspection of underground canals and other infrastructure. He said there were indications the car could have been in the canal as long as 12 years and there is no record of the canal having undergone such an inspection in that time.
“Any structure, infrastructure, needs constant maintenance and inspection,” he said. “I know that that was not happening in any systematic fashion. That’s why we’re starting that approach.”

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