Landrieu: Climate change comment from S&WB director was ‘tone deaf’


Gov. John Bel Edwards, Mayor Mitch Landrieu address Saturday’s flooding at a press conference outside of Willie Mae’s

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NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Monday afternoon that he doesn’t agree with Sewerage and Water Board Director Cedric Grant’s statement that the widespread flooding Saturday afternoon was caused by climate change.

“I think it was said in the heat of the moment,” Landrieu said, while standing next to Gov. John Bel Edwards outside of Willie Mae’s Restaurant, one of several businesses that were damaged in the flood. “It was a little out of context and a little tone deaf.”

Grant held a press conference Sunday morning to address the flood and said the Sewerage and Water Board did everything possible to combat the waters, but when eight-nine inches of rain fall within a two-hour period, areas are going to flood.

“The frustration is that we are now in a different era,” Grant said Sunday. “We are in an era of climate change, where we have these rains every week, every month. And it’s not just us. It’s the rest of the country that’s experiencing the same weather patterns.”

Landrieu, who returned to New Orleans Monday after being at a security conference over the weekend, said he will order an investigation into whether the pumps and the drainage system were fully functional as the Sewerage and Water Board claims.

“We are in a multi-billion dollar rebuilt of our entire sewerage and drainage system,” Landrieu said. “We have one of the best pumping systems in the world, but we will find out if there was a problem. The city was going to flood anyway … The water was still going to rise. There was still going to be damage.”

Edwards said there’s not a lot cities can do to prepare for rain events like this, but said he’s here to get a firsthand look at the damage and see if there’s anything state and local leaders can do going forward.

The governor will also tour Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, the Broad Theater, and Mondo restaurant in Lakeview.

Watch the full press conference below:


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