Letter: Graves’ work for coast critical, appreciated

Nothing highlighted the importance of a robust flood- protection system more than the ravages the residents of New Orleans suffered after Hurricane Katrina, one of the worst man-made disasters in our nation’s history. Fortunately, during this time, Gov. Bobby Jindal had the foresight to appoint Garret Graves chairman of the newly formed Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.

The Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region had the distinct privilege of working with Garret Graves. As point man during Katrina’s reconstruction, Graves immediately understood and prioritized New Orleans’ need for a flood-protection system that truly functioned as a cohesive system — from levees and floodwalls, to the outer protection of the wetlands and barrier islands. With the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and local levee authorities, he helped create a modern flood-risk reduction system for our region. Graves also oversaw the creation of Louisiana’s master plan for coastal restoration, a model for the nation and a key component of our state’s effort to rebuild the coast. Under his leadership, CPRA has increased project output by 500 percent and currently houses a $17 billion program focused on coastal resiliency, oil spill recovery and hurricane protection. None of this could have been accomplished without Graves’ continuous vigilance and energetic leadership.

Thus, it is on the occasion of his resignation after six years as leader of CPRA that the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region thanks Garret Graves for his pioneering work, vision and service to Louisiana. We look forward to working with his successor.

Paul Flower

chairman, Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region

Merritt Lane

Flood Protection Task Force leader, Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region

New Orleans