City Provides Update On Hurricane Harvey, Holiday Weekend Preparations; Mayor Landrieu Asks New Orleanians To Pay It Forward
NEW ORLEANS – Mayor Mitch Landrieu and other officials provided an update on Tropical Storm Harvey and the city's relief efforts for those impacted in Texas and Southwest Louisiana. City and hospitality industry leaders also shared preparations being made to ensure a successful holiday weekend in New Orleans.
According to the National Weather Service, Tropical Storm Harvey is moving north and is expected to move north-northeastward. While the threat of severe weather in New Orleans has reduced, a Flash Flood Watch is in still effect in the area through Thursday. Mayor Landrieu advises residents to remain vigilant and prepare for the potential of moderate and short rain events.
“I am grateful for the incredible sacrifice and hard work of our local, state and federal employees and partners for ensuring our preparation during the threat of Hurricane Harvey,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “As we remember the tough times of Hurricane Katrina, we continue to pray for those affected by the hurricane in Texas and Southwest Louisiana. Many New Orleanians are mobilizing to ensure we return the generous support given to us in our time of need. New Orleans is also excited to join our hospitality leaders in hosting a great Labor Day Weekend full of events for residents and visitors."
City’s Preparations for Holiday Weekend Events
New Orleans Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness along with the city’s public safety agencies are preparing for a weekend full of events including the 2017 Southern Decadence. The city is also excited to host the Louisiana State University vs. Brigham-Young University football game that was relocated due to Hurricane Harvey, city reps said. Proceeds from the football game will benefit Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. In preparation for these large events, the New Orleans Police Department will be complemented by officers from the Louisiana State Police as well as officers from other public safety agencies. The New Orleans Fire Department and New Orleans Emergency Medical Services will also have all hands on deck to provide public safety and be ready to respond in the event of an emergency.
New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Chief Michael Harrison said, “The NOPD is fully prepared for an eventful, safe holiday weekend. We welcome the fans in town for the LSU/BYU game, and the visitors here for Southern Decadence. Our officers, the mounted unit, and our partners in the Louisiana State Police, will be out in force all weekend to ensure everyone has a safe, enjoyable experience.”
President and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau Stephen Perry said, "The entire New Orleans tourism and hospitality industry is proud to stand alongside our counterparts in Houston and help them through this all too familiar crisis. New Orleans itself has been very fortunate. Tremendous new improvements in our drainage and flood management capacity ordered by the mayor has allowed us to be fully open for business this week and Labor Day weekend, and able to continue to present the extraordinary New Orleans visitor experience. We welcome with great enthusiasm the move of the AdvoCare LSU/BYU game and we're thrilled to both help Houston and accommodate all the fans of the teams and give them a great combined Texas/New Orleans show. We also urge all Louisiana Tiger fans to buy tickets and come support the game, the proceeds of which go back to Texas. We further welcome the unique Southern Decadence Festival and anticipate one of the greatest turnouts and festivals in history. The diversity and richness of this weekend will honor all Texans and what they are going through.”
SMG executive vice president of stadiums and arenas Doug Thornton said, “On behalf of the entire SMG Staff at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, we are more than happy to accommodate our friends in Texas. We can certainly appreciate what everyone is going through, and aim to fulfill their needs as best we can.”
Lone Star Sports & Entertainment general manager David Fletcher said, "We are incredibly appreciative of the City of New Orleans, SMG New Orleans, the Sugar Bowl, the Saints, the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau, and countless others who have worked tirelessly this week to welcome this event, these teams, and our staff here to this community in light of the devastation in Houston from Hurricane Harvey."
President and CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation Mark Romig said, “New Orleans is considered by many as one of the top Labor Day destinations as it is the perfect place to celebrate the ‘unofficial’ end of summer. With vibrant neighborhoods filled with restaurants and attractions, this Labor Day weekend we have the bonus of two of the nation’s premiere college football teams, the LSU Tigers and the BYU Cougars, playing Saturday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. In addition, the annual Southern Decadence will once again celebrate LGBT culture with special events throughout the weekend including the Southern Decadence Parade on Sunday.”
How New Orleans is Helping Those Impacted by Hurricane Harvey
On Monday, Aug. 28, Mayor Landrieu, in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation, reactivated the NOLA Pay it Forward Fund to provide support to impacted areas in Texas and Southwest Louisiana. The funds raised will help support the deployment and operations of local non-profits conducting volunteer relief efforts. Most recently, in August 2016, the NOLA Pay it Forward Fund raised $250,000 following the major flooding in Baton Rouge. The fund is housed with the Greater New Orleans Foundation.
President and CEO of the Greater New Orleans Foundation Andy Kopplin said, “Almost 12 years ago to the day, Texans opened their hearts, homes, and wallets to help us after Hurricane Katrina. It’s now our turn to repay the favor. Please give and give generously. We welcome this partnership with the City of New Orleans and we’re pleased to administer the NOLA Pay It Forward Fund. The Fund will provide resources for early relief efforts and long-term rebuilding for the millions of people whose lives have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey.”
Sheraton New Orleans general manager Jim Cook said, "New Orleans hotels have rooms available and great deals to be had for what is shaping up to be a fabulous holiday weekend in our city. From the LSU v. BYU football game, to the Southern Decadence festival activities throughout the city, to our amazing restaurants, attractions, and tours we are eager to welcome all for an exciting weekend in the New Orleans.”
Louisiana Restaurant Association president and CEO Stan Harris said, "In Louisiana, we know all too well the devastating impact a hurricane can have and restaurants are often among the first businesses to reopen and offer a sense of normalcy to a recovering public. The LRA is grateful to be in a position to answer the call of those in need. Helping direct money through the Hurricane Harvey Hospitality Employee Relief Fund to get employees back on their feet and back to work is critical. We are here to help our friends in Texas and in Southwest Louisiana during this difficult time.”
Update on Hurricane Harvey Efforts
The city’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and New Orleans Fire Department have distributed more than 69,898 sandbags since starting sandbag distribution on Aug. 14.
Sewerage & Water Board and its contractors continue to work around the clock to repair all power and pumps. Since early August, five drainage pumps and one turbine have been repaired. Today, 107 of 120 drainage pumps are fully operational.
On Aug. 17, the City of New Orleans passed an approximately $26 million plan from Mayor Landrieu to clean and fix 15,000 catch basins, provide an early warning system for underpass flooding and conduct a comprehensive analysis of the problems that led up to the July 22 and Aug. 5 floods. The funding also allowed for the Department of Homeland Security to preposition assets in advance of Harvey.
Moving forward, the Department of Public Works (DPW) will continue its increased efforts to clean and unclog catch basins and flush drain lines. Four vacuum trucks are in service currently. Since Aug. 6, DPW, along with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, has cleaned over 1,585 catch basins and more than 77,500 linear feet of drain lines.
Residents are encouraged to call 311 for general information and to report non-life threatening emergencies. 311 has received more than 4,100 calls since Friday. 311 is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The city will resume enforcing all parking enforcement Friday, Sept. 1. Residents should no longer park on neutral grounds, city reps said.
Mayor Mitch Landrieu issued the following statement Wednesday, Aug. 30:
Our thoughts and prayers are with those in Texas and Southwest Louisiana affected by Hurricane Harvey.
Now 12 years after Hurricane Katrina, it is important that we do our part to return the support so many people gave to us in our time of need.
That's why earlier this week I reactivated the NOLA Pay It Forward Fund in partnership with the Greater New Orleans Foundation.
The people of New Orleans know all too well what it's like to suffer through a disaster. We remember all of those who helped us when we needed it most, and through this fund we hope to pay it forward to other communities in need.
We first launched the NOLA Pay it Forward Fund in May 2011 to contribute to recovery efforts following the Mississippi River flooding disaster. It was also activated in 2012 in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy to support recovery efforts in the northeast, in May 2013 following catastrophic tornadoes in Oklahoma, and in August 2016 following the major flooding in parts of Northern and Southern Louisiana.
It's our turn to "Pay It Forward" once again.
Those interested in donating to the fund can go online to www.gnof.org/NOLApayitforward.
– Mitch Landrieu
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