New Orleans Sewer & Water Agency Gets Interim Emergency Management Team

The team is in place to provide administrative, financial, and technical guidance to the Sewerage & Water Board through Nov. 30 -- the end of the Atlantic hurricane season.

Following significant flooding in the city Aug. 5, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the Sewerage & Water Board on Aug. 22 announced an interim emergency management team is in place to provide administrative, financial, and technical guidance to the S&WB through Nov. 30 -- the end of the Atlantic hurricane season. Additionally, S&WB Executive Director Cedric Grant announced his retirement effective Aug. 22, and Landrieu announced the U.S. Small Business Administration will offer low-interest federal disaster loans to Louisiana businesses and residents affected by the flooding.

Loans are available in Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, and St. Tammany parishes to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters whose property was damaged or destroyed by the flooding.

The emergency management and support team's members are Paul Rainwater, who played a key role in helping Louisiana recover from hurricanes under multiple governors and is a colonel with the Louisiana Army National Guard in the Joint Director of Military Support for Disaster Response Unit; Terrence Ginn, deputy commissioner for Finance & Administration with the Louisiana Board of Regents; Renee Lapeyrolerie, a client service leader at the engineering firm CDM Smith; Ehab Meselhe, Ph.D., PE, vice president for Science and Engineering at the Water Institute; Owen Monconduit, who retired as a brigadier general from the Louisiana National Guard and currently serves in the Louisiana Military Department as the deputy director for contracting and purchasing; and Robert Turner, PE, director of engineering and operations at the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East.

"I want to thank Cedric Grant for his four decades of service and dedication to the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana," Landrieu said. "He has played a pivotal role in our city's post-Katrina recovery. His service has been invaluable throughout the years.

"The new Interim Emergency Management and Support team will supplement the leadership already at Sewerage & Water Board as we fix the infrastructure and stabilize the organization," he added. "Our administration has worked aggressively to recruit a team that consists of the top professionals in their respective industries who understand the issues currently facing Sewerage & Water Board and have a proven track record for success. They will work closely with Sewerage & Water Board's executive leadership team to add support and capacity during this transitional period."

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, who submitted a disaster aid request Aug. 17 to the Small Business Administration, said the state "stands ready to further assist the City of New Orleans as this interim emergency management and support team comes online to fix the serious issues with sewerage and water management facing the city."

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