For over 20 years, Avenu has been providing IT Managed Services to the Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO). For this effort, we partner with a Disadvantaged Business Entity and together employ 43 staff members (23 Avenu employees).
New Orleans sits 20 feet below sea level and visitors are always astounded to be outside and look up to see a ship going down the Mississippi River. SWBNO holds the responsibility for providing drainage and sewerage facilities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, where and when they are needed and for providing drinking water to thousands of homes in the city.
President Biden’s trip to New Orleans was to specifically tour SWBNO. Why? SWBNO has been using the same technology to drain the city since the 1910s. On 6 May, the President toured the SWBNO facility that houses the city’s century-old turbines – more than half of which are broken – that power a network of drainage pumps.
President Biden wanted to tour and highlight SWBNO as a prime example of a facility that is in dire need of modernizing its infrastructure. The President specifically named SWBNO in his $2.2 trillion proposal to revamp the nation’s infrastructure and replace major components of our facility.
It was in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans breaching the levees which caused 80% of the city to be underwater and resulted in thousands of citizens losing their lives. According to SWBNO’s history, the impact of Hurricane Katrina devasted the board’s water, sewer, drainage and power generation systems.
Over 300 Sewerage & Water Board employees manned their stations at board facilities throughout the city during Hurricane Katrina and during the catastrophic flooding that followed. These Sewerage & Water Board ‘Katrina Heroes’ literally risked their lives and their personal safety to salvage and repair vital Sewerage & Water Board facilities and equipment that made it possible to dewater the city in only 11 days after the levee breaches were repaired.
Maintaining SWBNO’s infrastructure is critical.
When asked about the challenges of dealing with storms, Avenu’s Program Manager at SWBNO remarked that “I am so proud of the entire SWBNO team. Last year we had eight named storms and direct hits come through which is an extraordinary amount for the team to deal with to keep the City safe. I am so grateful to lead and work with such a wonderful team. They are the best!”