The Cherokee Geyser Is Real -- We Have The Videos to Prove It!

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A nighttime shot of the "Cherokee Geyser" at Cherokee Street and Texas Avenue - IMAGE COURTESY OF BEN GATHARD OF BREVITY
  • Image courtesy of Ben Gathard of Brevity
  • A nighttime shot of the "Cherokee Geyser" at Cherokee Street and Texas Avenue

Ever heard rumors of the "Cherokee Geyser," that 30-foot tower of water that erupts from the sewer at Cherokee Street and Texas Avenue after a hard rain?

It ain't no urban legend. The geyser is real. We have video proof.

And frankly, it looks unsafe.

The first video comes courtesy of artist Chris Sabatino, owner of Art Monster Tattoo on the northwest corner of that intersection (unfortunately, his audio is muted):

"It was crazy," says Sabatino. He's seen the geyser four times in the past two years, with the last couple of episodes occurring as recently as late June. The geyser, he adds, flooded his basement with a few inches of water: "Our basement got it pretty bad."

We also obtained the following video that was shot by Ben Gathard, owner of Brevity, a digital design and branding firm located on Cherokee:

Here's another angle from a video uploaded to Instagram:

gettin wet

A video posted by @dredfurst on

So: this phenomenon is real. The question is why it's happening.

UPDATE at 11am on July 6th

Sean Hadley, spokesman for the Metropolitan Sewer District, says it has to do with the high level of the Mississippi River and an "overabundance" of rain water forced through the sewers in a brief amount of time. He says the grates have been welded down so that they won't pop off.

Asked whether the system was designed to function this way, Hadley says the matter is still under investigation.

"We're aware of it and it's something that we're looking at," he says.

We welcome tips and feedback. Contact the writer via email at nicholas.phillips@riverfronttimes.com.

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