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Devastating New Orleans floods cost several officials their jobs

New Orleans officials resign
After flooding, New Orleans officials responsible for pumping system fired or resigned 02:17

NEW ORLEANS -- The devastating floods that swamped New Orleans last weekend have cost several officials their jobs.

As heavy rains on Saturday created flooding scenes reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina, 20 of the city's 121 drainage pumps were out of commission.

Joe Becker on Monday CBS News

Sewerage and Water Board Superintendent Joe Becker initially told CBS News Monday the pumping stations were working at full capacity.

"There was no problems with the pumps at all, all the pumps were working, all of them were operating," Becker said.

But the following day, at a City Council meeting, he was forced to backtrack.

"I was trying to say that we used the available pumping capacity at its fullest extent," he said.

With nearly 10 inches of rain in three hours, Becker said the pumps were overwhelmed. But he admitted some were offline due to maintenance. 

One pump station operated at just 52 percent capacity.

Now, two officials in charge of the pumping and drainage systems are out.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu has asked for more resignations.

"When you have credibility issues around anything whether it's a big or small contributor to a major event you have to do that," Landrieu said.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu  CBS News

Frustrated residents like Naaman Stewart demanded answers.

"This is unacceptable on every level," Naaman said.

"If we flood like this in a typical New Orleans summer rainstorm, what's gonna happen in a hurricane? What's gonna happen in a tropical depression?" he asked.

Dwayne Boudreaux is still cleaning the mess left by two feet of water in his grocery store.

"It's filthy water. It's coming off the street, up the sewer," Boudreax told CBS News. "It's all under the shelves. It got into some of the coolers and anything it's touched they got to throw it away."

It could take months to complete repairs on the broken pumps. 

But the mayor says that even if the pumps were working at full capacity, they were no match for this past weekend's historic storm.

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