Ascension CAO takes New Orleans deputy mayor position

Wade McIntyre

Ascension Parish CAO Cedric Grant resigned his post this week to accept a $160,000 position as a deputy mayor in the administration of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who took office Monday.

The new job takes 57-year-old Grant, a New Orleans native who moved to Donaldsonville after Hurricane Katrina, back to his hometown where he has an extensive background in government and administration.

Formerly CAO from 1994-2002 in the administration of New Orleans Mayor Mark Morial, Grant will be deputy mayor of facilities, infrastructure and community development under Landrieu.

Expected to play a key role in the city’s ongoing recovery, Grant is one of six deputy mayors in the Landrieu management system.

Grant told The Citizen Wednesday that some things he learned on the job as CAO in the administration of Ascension President Tommy Martinez will help him in the Landrieu administration.

“What I learned here in Ascension was how to manage rapid growth,” he said. It’s a perspective he plans to use in an administration expecting to see the Crescent City population grow and former residents return.

Grant said he was pleased that area residents can see the results that occur when elected officials work together.

“It was a very big pleasure to work here (Ascension Parish),” he said. “I hope I brought some professional standards to the parish.”

During his CAO tenure in Ascension begun in 2008 after a 4-year tenure as Deputy Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, Grant had a hand in several major projects including the purchase and subsequent development of Lamar-Dixon Expo Center, the Hurricane Gustav recovery, and the building of a central sewer plant for the parish.

Acknowledging that the parish will have a hard time replacing a CAO with Grant’s experience and professionalism, Martinez said he was proud Grant was tabbed for the Landrieu administration job.

“I know he will do a good job in New Orleans,” the parish president said. The search for a replacement will begin as soon as possible, and be thorough rather than hasty, Martinez indicated.

As one of the deputy mayors on Landrieu’s management team, is assigned specific duties.

He is responsible for the capital projects program, infrastructure such as getting public facilities like police and fire stations back in order, street construction and existing road maintenance, and community development issues - a total accountability program amounting to roughly $1 billion for his department.

Comparing his role in the pre-Katrina administration of Mark Morial with the post-Katrina Landrieu administration, Grant said the Morial years centered around keeping the city up and maintaining its services.

The approach in the Landrieu administration will also include a building program for what New Orleans will be in the future, a creative program that among other things will integrate road work and building construction to rebuild the city.

Grant said Wednesday he plans to maintain his primary residence in Donaldsonville.