LAFAYETTE, La. — Businesses in Downtown Lafayette are taking steps to make sure they don’t have damage from Nicholas.
KATC’s Victor Jorges and photojournalist Blake Blanchard drove around downtown and saw a few businesses have already put out sandbags ahead of potential flooding caused by tropical conditions from Nicholas.
Employees say they’ve seen too much flooding to take this lightly.
“It floods pretty bad right here,” said MaKensey Sanders, bar manager at Grocery Tavern on Jefferson St. “The way the sidewalks kind of go... It floods in here pretty bad, especially right now with hurricanes and tropical storms.”
She shared a video from July with KATC. She says the bar flooded pretty severely over the summer.
“It flooded all the way like behind where you are so on both sides,” she said. “We just weren’t prepared, we didn’t have the sandbags out. At that point we didn’t have, our landlord put this board out. We didn’t have that yet.”
Right next door, a similar story.
The Juliet Hotel, which is now filled with Hurricane Ida evacuees, has put out their sandbags too.
“Really the biggest damage, we typically don’t lose power over high weather storms, it’s stuff like this where it’s trickling rain for hours and hours that starts to back up the Lafayette drainage system,” said Sam Foret, who works at the hotel. “That’s what really gives us the biggest issues.”
He says if Nicholas brings flooding to Jefferson Street, he’s confident folks will help one another as they’ve done in the past.
“All the business owners and everyone working is just sort of walking through the streets making sure that everyone’s okay... Going through floodwater just to check on other businesses,” he said. “Definitely makes you happy on Jefferson Street when there are people like that coming to knock just to make sure everything is okay.”
Aside from preparing for Tropical Storm Nicholas’ rain, the staff at the Juliet says the boutique hotel has been fully booked since Hurricane Ida made landfall. They say they’re still getting more than one hundred calls a day from people looking for a place to stay.
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