New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said Monday that he disagrees with Sewerage and Water Board Executive Director Cedric Grant's assertion that climate change is the culprit for the recent flooding in the city.
He called Grant's comments a bit "out of context" and "tone deaf."
Grant said Saturday's rains, as well as similar flooding that happened July 22, are part of the "climate change era" the rest of the country is experiencing, and any upgrade to the city's drainage systems would cost billions of dollars it doesn't have.
"I think that was just kind of said in the spirit of the moment," Landrieu said, addressing a question about Grant's comments. "[Climate change] may have a little to do with it. But, generally speaking when you have a major event like that ... we're going to have a water event in the city of New Orleans."
Landrieu said he's already asked for an "after-action report" to address topics such as the functionality of the pumps.
"I can say with a lot of confidence that we have on the best pumping systems in the world. But we will find out if there was a problem," he said. "Having said that, the city was going to flood anyway from this particular event."
It's unlikely the city will reach the necessary requirements for federal disaster aid, Landrieu said.
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New Orleans is drying out after torrential rains flooded parts of the city for the second time in two weeks. The City Council has called a special meeting for Tuesday. Members say they want proof the drainage system is working.
Sewerage and Water Board spokeswoman Lisa Jackson says there was just too much rain, too fast. The city can pump out an inch of rain in the first hour and one-half-inch each hour after that.
She says one station got 9.4 inches in three hours Saturday.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards joined Landrieu on Monday for a tour of hard hit areas in Lakeview and Treme.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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