New Orleans Deputy Mayor Leaving City Hall For Position At Water Institute

Mayor Appoints Deputy Mayor Judy Reese Morse to Chief Administrative Officer

NEW ORLEANS—Deputy Mayor, Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Resilience Officer Jeff Hebert announced that after over seven years of service to the City, he will leave his post in mid-December to become the Vice President for Adaptation and Resilience of the Water Institute of the Gulf, the independent applied research and technical services institution focused on resilient coasts and sustainable water systems worldwide.

In the announcement Tuesday, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, “Jeff has been a key member of our team since the beginning. From leading our award-winning Blight Strategy, serving as Director of Code Enforcement, Executive Director of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority, Chief Resilience Officer, and CAO, Jeff has led so many of our initiatives to move the city forward towards what we always knew she could be and to prepare our city for our tricentennial. As my CAO, Jeff has been critical in continuing our legacy of a smart and efficient government that delivers strong, fiscal stewardship. I wish he and his family success in the future.”

Hebert said, “I was honored to be asked to join the Landrieu Administration in the summer of 2010 and work with such an incredible team towards building a better city. There is so much we have accomplished as a team and words cannot truly describe my gratitude to Mayor Landrieu for the many opportunities he has given me.”

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Jeff Hebert has served as Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer since August 15, 2016. In this capacity he has overseen the day-to-day administration of City Hall, including the development and management of the City’s budget and the oversight of several departments. Under his leadership, the city has maintained its highest ever credit rating and developed the first-ever Rainy Day Savings Fund that was recently approved by the voters.

Hebert was appointed Chief Resilience Officer November 6, 2014 during the first-ever Rockefeller Foundation Global Resilience Summit held in New Orleans. Since that time, Hebert has overseen the development of the 2015 Resilient New Orleans strategy, the world’s first comprehensive resilience strategy which was subsequently awarded a 2016 National Planning Excellence Award by the American Planning Association.

Hebert also led a local and international team of designers and engineers to develop the Gentilly Resilience District, which was awarded $141 million by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the National Disaster Resilience Competition in 2015, and in 2016 was recognized as one of 100 innovative global solutions for sustainability by Sustania, the international sustainability think tank. Most recently Hebert created the Office of Resilience and Sustainability and led the development of Climate Action for a Resilient New Orleans, the city’s first ever climate strategy. Hebert is recognized as a global leader of the resilience movement and has advised cities around the world on their resilience strategies.

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From February 2012 to August 2016, Hebert led the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority from the brink of federal funds recapture into the City’s partner in the revitalization of many communities still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. By refocusing the agency on place-based investments that leverage private and philanthropic support, 4,000 properties have been returned to commerce, $130 million has been invested in affordable housing development, $114 million has been invested in commercial revitalization, and $10 million has been invested in land stewardship projects including the City’s first blue/green infrastructure projects.

Hebert began his tenure with the Landrieu Administration in August 2010 as the Mayor’s Director of Blight Policy and Neighborhood Revitalization. Hebert led the development and implementation of the Mayor’s Blight Reduction Strategy, released in September 2010, which had a goal of reducing blight by 10,000 units by 2014. The strategy was awarded a 2012 Bright Idea Award by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s Kennedy School. During that time, Hebert also served as Director of Code Enforcement.

Lastly, Hebert has played a key role in several of the City’s development projects and planning initiatives, including the new North Terminal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), the Riverfront redevelopment project, the ReFresh Project on North Broad Street, the O. C. Haley Boulevard Revitalization Project, the Lafitte Greenway, the 2017 Public Safety Plan, the Façade RENEW Program, the City’s Blue Bikes bike share system, and the City’s green infrastructure initiatives. When he departs, Hebert will have been the youngest Chief Administrative Officer in the city’s history. 

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To succeed Hebert as Deputy Mayor & CAO, Mayor Landrieu has appointed Deputy Mayor of Citywide Initiatives Judy Reese Morse. In her role as Deputy Mayor of Citywide Initiatives, Morse has overseen the City’s work on the city’s murder reduction efforts, racial reconciliation and economic opportunity since 2014. The result of the intentional focus on the intersection of these issues was a year-long quantitative and qualitative process that led to Equity New Orleans, the city’s first-ever formal strategy to practice racial equity across all departments and public agencies. This groundbreaking, systems change work makes the City of New Orleans one of a handful of cities in the country with a formal equity strategy.

Landrieu said, “I have worked closely with Judy Reese Morse in a number of roles, Chief of Staff in the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff during my first term, and now as Deputy Mayor of Citywide Initiatives. As the longest serving senior member in my Administration, Judy is an experienced and respected leader widely-recognized for her high-level strategic thinking, planning and execution. She will ensure that the remaining priorities across all departments are met and that we finish strong on behalf of the people of New Orleans. Her ‘people first’ approach to government will serve as the foundation for her work in the Administration’s remaining months.”

Morse said, “It is an honor to be appointed Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer for the City of New Orleans. In my various leadership roles since 2010, I have always worked closely and well with the CAO’s office to ensure continuity in services across City government. As the Landrieu Administration nears its end, I look forward to working with the city department heads to continue to provide the day-to-day services the public expects and to support an organized, professional and seamless transition to the next administration.”

Morse will continue overseeing the transition between Mayor Landrieu’s Administration and Mayor-Elect LaToya Cantrell’s Administration to establish an open line of communication between the two teams.

Morse will continue to direct the work of NOLA FOR LIFE, the city’s comprehensive strategy to reduce murder, and Equity New Orleans, the city’s formal strategy to practice racial equity across all departments and city public agencies.

Morse’s professional experience includes work in the government and media sectors. Morse began serving in New Orleans city government in May 2010, at the start of the Landrieu Administration. From 2010 to 2014, Morse served as Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff. In that role, Morse oversaw the Mayor’s Office staff and senior advisors, and worked closely with Deputy Mayors across city government to ensure coordination and integration of city programs and services. Morse led multiple departments in the design and implementation of NOLA FOR LIFE. Since 2012, when the strategy was launched, the city’s murder rate has decreased by 25 percent.

Before joining city government, Morse led Transition New Orleans, the organization that transitioned the Landrieu Administration into office. That effort included a public engagement process that featured 500 residents serving on 17 policy task force groups. The policy reports were used to help shape the Administration’s first term agenda. Prior to that, Morse worked in the Louisiana Office of Lieutenant Governor from 2004-2010 and served as Chief of Staff.

Morse worked in Washington D.C. from 1990 to 2003, serving on Capitol Hill in the Office of Congresswoman Lindy Boggs (1990-91); as a management analyst at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Resolution Trust Corporation (1991-94); as the Director of Corporate Communications at National Public Radio (1994-98); and as a part-time communications consultant and full-time mother (1999-2003).

From 1982 to 1989, Morse worked as a producer in promotion, public affairs and news at WWL-TV in New Orleans.

Morse earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Loyola University of New Orleans in 1984 and a master’s degree in public administration at American University in Washington, D.C. in 1991. That year, she was selected as a Presidential Management Fellow, one of 250 graduates of advanced graduate programs chosen nationally with exceptional management and leadership potential in government careers.

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