Gov. John Bel Edwards joined New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, along with federal and regional leaders on Thursday to tour the 17th Street Canal Pump Station and address hurricane preparedness.
Edwards said he is confident the state is prepared for the 2019 hurricane season, which began June 1, as efforts to better manage stormwater are ongoing.
“We continue to have to learn to live with, to manage, water,” Edwards said. “As we enter this hurricane season, we are more acutely aware of our place on the map and our precarious position here.”
Edwards said it takes engineering to protect New Orleans. He said the 17th Street Canal Pump Station is part of one of the most sophisticated hurricane risk reduction systems in the world.
“This vast and powerful structure offers a compound solution – a permanent, gated storm surge barrier at the lakefront to prevent storm surge from entering the city and massive pumps to move the rainwater out of the canals, around the gates and over the greatly improved and fortified levees and into Lake Pontchartrain,” Edwards said.
The pump station is under construction, as the transition from temporary to permanent pumps wraps up. The $724 million facility is said to be one of the most modern pump stations in the region, with smart technology that allows for remote operation. It is designed to act as both a storm surge protector and drainage system.
Hurricane season ends Nov. 30.
The National Weather Service is expecting more than a dozen storms, including two to four major hurricanes, this season.
Cantrell said the city is prepared, adding that her public safety team has 3,300 essential personnel who will work through any disaster.