The report details now well-known mechanical failures and limitations of the city's drainage system. But it also focuses on breakdowns in priorities and a lack of concern and attention to the drainage system in the "years, months and days" before the flood.Later in the day, former Landrieu Administration First Deputy Mayor Ryan Berni told the Advocate that there simply was no way they could have known about the problems.
All that contributed to a situation in which the S&WB had only 10 percent of its power available during the storm and the hardest-hit areas had only 45 percent to 70 percent of the pumping capacity they theoretically could have had.
As an example, the report notes that after the S&WB was alerted in March that all the turbines that run the drainage system had failed and were offline, there was "no evident follow-up or inquiries regarding what would happen during a severe rain event."
It says that was true despite multiple meetings of the S&WB's governing board, the City Council and Landrieu's cabinet, which included S&WB representatives.
Ryan Berni, who was one of Landrieu’s top advisers, said Tuesday that more could have been done if S&WB officials had been candid with the administration about the state of the system.Does that seem remotely possible?
“I think you saw in the last year us really run into the fire fixing the problem that we were learning more about,” Berni said. “Clearly there had been a culture of misinformation at the Sewerage & Water Board both in its dealing with the public and with City Hall.”