Culprits in Pumps Crisis Will Soon Be Found Out

Scene from pump station 6 in New Orleans on 10-23-07. Photo/AP Alex Brandon

A version of this post appeared in the New Orleans Advocate on Aug 26, 2017 page 4B.

Ever since the flash-flooding on Aug. 5 when a summer rain drenched homes and businesses in New Orleans, I’ve received phone calls every day from distressed callers.

“Should I sell my properties and move away?” they asked. I assured them that the localized drainage crisis is much different from the region-wide levee failure crisis of 12 years ago after Hurricane Katrina.

Analyzing the failure of the federal Army Corps of Engineers’ levees took several years and more than a dozen studies to figure out what went wrong and why. But, analyzing the failure of the local Sewerage & Water Board’s pumping and drainage should take weeks, months at most.

The mayor has released a Request for Proposals for a firm to conduct a “root cause analysis” to figure out what happened at the S&WB, which seemed to go from a “well-oiled machine” to what it is today. In addition, has signaled its willingness to the mayor’s office to participate in an external peer review of this analysis.

Perhaps most importantly, the residents of New Orleans can rest assured that neither the S&WB nor city officials have bottomless coffers of money to spend on a disinformation campaign, like the corps did after Katrina.

Initially after Katrina, the corps blamed the local levee district, the storm itself and the city’s flat geography – to name just a few – for the failures. In response, has repeatedly and relentlessly called out the corps for this activity.

Whoever and whatever is the cause of the episodes of localized flash-flooding in New Orleans will be found out. And quickly.

In the meantime, is prepared, as we have done every day since Aug. 5, to call out unreasonable, questionable and wrong information when we see it.



2 responses to “Culprits in Pumps Crisis Will Soon Be Found Out”

  1. ken pearson says:

    I think the S&WB root problem is patronage and corruption. Add in the pandoring Landreux has exhibited in the statue removals and you will see that he has his eyes on larger prizes when in fact his eyes need to be on his primary duties of protecting the city and people of new orleans. In this he is an abject failure. There should be triple redundancy for generators to supply the pumps. where did all the money go?

  2. Gloria Conlin says:

    In 1995 while living in Metairie, my house flooded. The pumps were working, but there was no one to turn them on. As soon as someone got there, the water ran out of house. Had friend who lived by the pumps. They said they could hear the pumps when running.

    Had open heart surgery in June that is why reply is so late. Thank you for all your work.

    Gloria Conlin

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