NEW ORLEANS – Sewerage and Water Board Director Cedric Grant’s retirement date came early.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced today that Grant, who was forced to retire after big S&WB failures caused widespread flooding Aug. 5, will retire effective today.
An “interim emergency management and support team” has stepped in to take over the Sewerage and Water Board through Nov. 30, the end of hurricane season.
The interim team includes:
- Paul Rainwater
- Terrence Ginn
- Renee Lapeyrolerie
- Ehab Meselhe, Ph.D., P.E.
- Owen Monconduit
- Robert Turner, P.E.
One of the more notable names on the list is Rainwater, who served under former Govs. Kathleen Blanco and Bobby Jindal, including serving as Jindal’s chief of staff and commissioner of administration. He’s also a colonel in the Louisiana National Guard and played an extensive role in Hurricane Katrina recovery.
Several New Orleans neighborhoods were inundated the afternoon of Aug. 5 when as much as nine and a half inches of rain fell in some neighborhoods within a couple of hours.
The Sewerage and Water Board initially claimed that all pumps were functioning properly and attributed the widespread damage to climate change. It was later learned that up to 17 pumps were not functioning at full capacity during the rain event.
The city’s problems worsened a few days later, when a fire damaged the city’s only working turbine that operates the city’s water pumps. Backup generators and parts have been ordered, and repairs are under way.
The Interim Emergency Management and Support team will report to S&WB’s Board of Directors and assist S&WB’s executive leadership in managing operations.