Fri. May 24th, 2024

Jefferson Parish navigates boil water advisory with school closures and business creativity

By marianna May 24, 2024

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – A boil water advisory for the East Bank of Jefferson Parish forces businesses to get creative as students spent the day at home.

All public East Bank high schools are shifting to virtual learning. As for elementary and middle school students, schools are closed tomorrow.

The water samples Jefferson Parish’s Water Department finished collecting this afternoon must sit for at least 24 hours before being analyzed to determine whether it’s safe.

“It’s a bump in the road. It’s a part of doing business. You know what, we’ve had a pandemic, we’ve had hurricanes, we’ve had oil spills, now we’ve got no water. This is the easiest of those perils,” Tommy Cvitanovich said.

Owner of Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, Tommy Cvitanovich, said the Metairie location re-opened just before 5 p.m. Wednesday evening after being forced to close for nearly 24 hours.

He said they immediately turned off all their ice machines and closed around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon.

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Zero water pressure Wednesday morning prevented them from flushing toilets, washing hands and doing dishes.

“You can’t do anything. I mean we are spoiled with civilization and knowing what it takes for water. So, when they take that away from you, it’s like holy what are we going to do now,” Cvitanovich said.

Then, by lunchtime, they had a little trickle.

Cvitanovich brought in a couple of palettes of ice, has 75 cases of bottled water on hand, and is using a chemical sanitizer for dishwashing.

Plus, all their soups and sauces have to be boiled anyway.

“Let’s drink some Coca-Cola out of cans and beer out of the bottle and have a great night, and hopefully, it’ll be gone tomorrow,” Cvitanovich said.

Gregory Finsley was met with water woes as soon as he landed at the airport.

“It was quite chaos trying to get the bags. The bags were soaked and there was also that wanting the decompress and go to the loo. None of them were open. All yellow pile-ons around with rope,” Gregory Finsley said.

He’s happy his favorite food spot is open and impressed with Drago’s preparation.

MORE: Water pressure slowly returning in Jefferson Parish; boil water advisory still in place

“This is religious with us every time we come home. This is always our first stop. Decompress. Always the last stop,” Gregory Finsley said.

Mochinut isn’t selling one of its staples right now.

“We don’t have water in terms of our drinks. We have the tv off for that. Just corn dogs and donuts for today,” Hieu Cran, owner of Mochinut.

Owner Hieu Cran said his business uses a lot of water.

“There is no telling. I have no idea when it comes to like just the dishes alone,” Cran said.

The boil water advisory for the entire East Bank of Jefferson Parish went into effect Tuesday evening after a major water line break outside the East Bank Water Treatment Plant.

Crews worked overnight to repair the waterline and continue to gradually restore water pressure.

“We are just making it…. We are going to be open. Customers want our food so we are definitely going to stay open as much as we can,” Cran said.

In the meantime, parish officials said don’t drink the water, make ice, brush teeth, wash dishes or prepare food without bringing it to a rolling boil for one minute or disinfecting it.

“We will have to find a way to work around that,” Cran said.

Because of the ongoing work on the water lines, parish officials said two of three eastbound lanes of Jefferson Highway from Central Avenue to Shrewsbury Road remain closed.

The traffic detour is north to Airline Highway or south to River Road, to Shrewsbury Road, and back to east-bound Jefferson Highway.

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