Natchitoches campus water issues create daytime closure


Kelsie Campbell

The damage sustained Friday has since been repaired and the water is fully functional and should have no discoloration by this point in time.

On the morning of Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, Northwestern State University of Louisiana’s Natchitoches campus received an email that was sent to all students at 5:12 a.m. from Leah Jackson, the director of public information and media relations at NSU, announcing that the campus water supply was damaged.

“A water hydrant on the west side of campus has been damaged. The city of Natchitoches has cut off water to campus and should return at 7 a.m. to repair the damage. There is currently no timeline as to how long the repairs will take. NSU will provide further information as it becomes available,” the email said.

An hour later, a similar message was sent out via the NSU Purple Alert system. “The Natchitoches campus will be closed today, due to water being cut off for repairs.”

Jennifer A. Kelly, the executive director of university affairs for auxiliary services, reveals more about the incident.

“Around 12:30 a.m. a University Police Seargeant on patrol, drove up on a group of cars on the side of Tarleton in front of the HHP Building. There was one car in the ditch that had struck a fire hydrant. No one was hurt in the accident,” Kelly said.

University Police contacted the NSU physical plant, the City of Natchitoches and the City of Natchitoches Fire Department. After starting repairs at 6 a.m. on Friday morning, NSU Physical Plant and Rutledge Plumbing completed the repairs to the water line by 11 a.m.

“Once NSU had completed repairs and the water was turned back on there was a secondary leak in the adjacent pipe that had to be repaired by NSU,” Kelly said. “The City of Natchitoches will install a new hydrant at a later date.”

Water was turned back on around 11 a.m. and a campus-wide email from Jackson was sent to inform everyone. “Water is being restored to the Natchitoches campus. Water could be discolored at first but should clear soon,” the email said.

A final leak was discovered in University Columns.

“That work was completed by a local plumbing contractor by 6 p.m.,” Kelly said.

Despite the quick response and unusual nature of the damage sustained by the water hydrant, more than a few students felt inconvenienced by the frequency of plumbing issues NSU dorm residents experience, especially at University Columns.

Logan Bordelon, a resident at University Columns, expressed their frustrations about the incident.

“Water outage happens frequently enough on campus where I’m used to it at this point. But people I know, as well as myself, agree that it was very inconvenient as we were unable to shower, brush our teeth, etc.,” Bordelon said.

The damage sustained Friday has since been repaired. The water is fully functional and should have no discoloration by this point in time.