Residents say Ockley ditch collapse didn't happen overnight

Residents say Ockley ditch collapse didn't happen overnight

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Residents remain out of their homes after the collapse of a drainage ditch outside a Shreveport condominium complex Thursday night, but some who live there say the crisis didn't happen overnight.

It's all taking place at what's called the Ockley Ditch, which runs behind Mall Saint Vincent in Shreveport, near Normandy Village Condominiums.

"As bad as it was I said, 'Good will come out of it,' because I've been saying since 2008 I fear that someone would drown," claims Normandy Village resident Ardie Cesario.

In fact, KSLA News 12 as there in 2008, covering concerns raised by the latest of 3 episodes of flooding because of the outdated and over-worked drainage ditch.

Since then, residents had repeatedly been told the city was going to renovate the ditch. But seven years later, they're still waiting.

"Although we got it on the bond issue, although the Glover administration worked with us and so forth, nothing could ever get done," Cesario says, "it was always one stumbling block, another stumbling block."

One of the biggest of those stumbling blocks had been the politics at City Hall of deciding on a financial advisor for the city before the project could move forward.

Cesario even quoted a city councilman:

"Oliver Jenkins said we were pawns used by the city and then the council. But the thing about it, it angered me because our lives were in danger."

But Cesario says all that has recently begun to change.

"In the last three weeks the new administration, they've made inroads. And this comes along, they're taking action. They're doing something immediately. And I feel comfortable about that."

Shreveport Chief Administrative Officer Brian Crawford says if repair crews can get started Saturday morning and work through the weekend, evacuated residents could be allowed back home by Monday.

Until then, Crawford says the city will pay for their lodging if they need it.

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