Mayor Mitch Landrieu on Thursday named Jeff Hebert, head of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, to be the city’s first “chief resiliency officer.”
That’s a new position being created in cities across the country as part of the Rockefeller Foundation’s “100 Resilient Cities” program, a $100 million effort to help cities prepare for the “shocks and stresses” of the 21st century.
Hebert will not be leaving NORA, which manages thousands of properties taken over by the state after Hurricane Katrina. Instead, the mayor has designated NORA itself as the agency in charge of implementing the city’s “resilience plan.”
What that will mean exactly is unclear.
The Mayor’s Office said Hebert will develop a “road map to resilience” for New Orleans over the next six to nine months, consulting with officials from various government agencies and other sectors.
Not surprisingly, given the city’s recent history, the mayor’s statement focused on dealing with the shocks and stresses related to water: rising sea levels, flood mitigation and protection, and coastal restoration projects.
Hebert has worked closely with Landrieu since the mayor took office in 2010, when he joined the administration as the city’s first director of blight policy and neighborhood revitalization.
He moved over in 2012 to head NORA, where he’s been responsible for maintaining and gradually selling off almost 6,000 properties acquired by the state after Katrina.
Hebert will continue to make the same salary that he does now — $172,000 — but half of it will now be paid by the Rockefeller Foundation.
NORA also will be adding a few staff positions focused on resiliency efforts, but those plans aren’t finalized yet.