NEW ORLEANS – Mayor Mitch Landrieu said he will order an “‘after-action report” to determine if the pumps and drainage system were properly working during Saturday’s flood, but “the city was going to flood anyway from this particular event.”
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Landrieu made his first public statement about the flooding before he toured some of the hardest-hit areas in Mid-City and Treme area with Gov. John Bel Edwards Monday afternoon.
“I can say with a lot of confidence that we have one of the best pumping systems in the world, but we will find out if there was a problem,” Landrieu said.
Landrieu also said a comment by Sewerage & Water Board Executive Director Cedric Grant that the city is in an era of climate change and that resident will have to learn to accept these kinds of events.
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“I don’t agree with that,” said Landrieu. “I think it was said in the spirit of the moment. I think it was a little tone deaf.”
Landrieu, who was at a security conference in Aspen, Colorado, when the storms inundated city streets with water for the second time in two weeks, said that with 5 to 9 inches of rain in a few hours’ time “you are going to have a water event.”
He said that any major rain storm that overtaxes the city’s system is a chance to find a weak link and do better.
As he surveyed the damage to several homes and businesses, Landrieu said he did not think it was likely that the level of damage would meet a threshold needed for federal aid. “Even though the damage for an individual house is catastrophic, unless it adds up to a pretty significant threshold, it’s pretty difficult.”