By: Scott Bolejack
No one is arguing this fact: Rain from Hurricane Dorian pushed floodwaters 13 rows up into the seats in Selma’s Rudy Theatre, home to the American Music Jubilee and other live shows.
But whether the town or theater is mostly to blame is the subject of some debate.
At Tuesday’s Selma Council meeting, interim town manager Mike McLaurin said faults in the building, including holes in the masonry, contributed to the flooding, which forced the Rudy to cancel shows scheduled for that weekend.
Jeffery Hamilton, who works in group ticket sales for the Rudy, acknowledged that the aging building has its problems. But speaking after the meeting, Hamilton said he was confident that the theater, which has a sump pump, could handle heavy rains if nearby Oak and Raiford streets drained properly.
“The problem is when we get that fast rain,” Hamilton said. “The infrastructure’s not taking it away.”
McLaurin noted that standing water on Oak and Raiford streets drained rather quickly after Hurricane Dorian.
Hamilton didn’t dispute that. “It did go away in four hours,” he said. “But in four hours, it filled up the theater.”
Hamilton said he wasn’t picking a fight with the town. “The town is really working with us,” he said. “We’re getting things moving.”
But the theater needs the flooding to stop — and soon, Hamilton said. “It’s flooded three times in the past 10 weeks,” he said.