New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board

Travis Lux / WWNO

The New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board has been been in turmoil since major flooding across the city last summer. After several changes in leadership, the utility finally has a new, permanant executive director: Ghassan Korban.

This week on the Coastal News Roundup, Korban sits down with WWNO's Travis Lux to talk about his priorities and longer-term vision.

Travis Lux / WWNO

The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans is getting yet another interim director, and three top officials have resigned from the utility.

The moves come just a couple of weeks before a new permanent director is scheduled to take the helm.

David Callahan -- a retired rear admiral with the Coast Guard -- will be the fourth temporary executive director of the Sewerage and Water Board in about a year. Callahan will replace Jade Brown-Russell.

Travis Lux / WWNO

The flooding of August 5th, 2017 revealed that several pumps, and the generators that power them, were broken.

 

Most of that equipment has now been fixed, but last week, lawyers filed a class-action lawsuit against the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans over damages caused by the flood waters.

 

WWNO’s Travis Lux spoke with New Orleans Advocate reporter Jeff Adelson about the suit, and what comes next.

S&WB Interim Operations Manager Joe Sensebe says the board has made major repairs since Aug. 5, 2017.
Jess Clark / WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio

It’s been almost exactly one year since record-breaking rains flooded much of the city, and the city’s pumping and drainage system couldn’t keep up. Later it was revealed that many of the Sewerage and Water Board pumps and turbines weren’t working. Sewerage and Water Board officials say since then they've made $82 million in repairs, and today, the pumping and drainage system is in much better shape.

Eileen Fleming / WWNO

The New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board has resumed cutting off water service to 17,000 delinquent accounts. Several pastors from the group Justice and Beyond held a prayer service outside the board offices to protest the policy.

Rain clouds gather over Esperanza Charter School in Mid-City. The neighborhood was hard hit during the flooding of August 2017.
Jess Clark / WWNO - New Orleans Public Radio

Climate change is bringing more intense weather — more rain, heat and storms. And in New Orleans, extreme weather is disruptive. People park their cars up on curbs, and miss work — and school. It turns out kids missed a lot of school this past year, largely because of aging infrastructure failing during extreme weather.

Travis Lux / WWNO

The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans says it’s ready for hurricane season. It has fixed many of its broken pumps and power generators, and is taking steps to monitor summer rain storms more closely.

Travis Lux / WWNO

Hurricane season is just around the corner. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell says the city is ready, but now it's time for residents to ready themselves.

"With two weeks to go before June 1, I'm urging our citizens to take action and take their response very, very seriously," Cantrell said.

Scott Akerman / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Sewerage and Water Board answered questions from New Orleans city council members Tuesday about the impact of last week’s freeze, but the agency is still taking stock.

US Patent Office

TriPod: New Orleans at 300 returns with its NOLA versus Nature series. This week: WWNO’s Laine Kaplan-Levenson and Travis Lux look at the city’s drainage pumps, and the man behind their design -- Albert Baldwin Wood.

New Orleans is below sea level. You know this, and certainly, if you were here this past August, you really know this. Almost a foot of rain fell over a couple hours and parts of town were knee deep in water.

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