New Orleans District changes command

Published Sept. 16, 2022


More than a year after leading the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New Orleans District’s Hurricane Ida recovery efforts, district commander Col. Stephen Murphy handed the reins to Col. Cullen Jones during a formal change of command ceremony at the district’s headquarters on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022.

Jones is the 65th commander in the district’s more than 200 years of serving New Orleans and South Louisiana.

“The Army got it right when it chose these two men for command,” said Maj. Gen. Diana Holland, Mississippi Valley Division commanding general.

While the Corps of Engineers has faced its share of challenges in its relationships with Louisiana state and local officials during the post-Hurricane Katrina years, Murphy helped moved those relations in a positive direction, Holland said.

“One of the closest relationships between the Corps and state officials is here,” she said, as she praised Murphy for his genuineness and ability to build those relationships during his tenure in New Orleans.

During his first week of command, Murphy said he faced two things he prayed he wouldn’t see in New Orleans: a hurricane and a high river, as Hurricane Barry hit the New Orleans area and the district was engaged in one of the longest flood fights in history.

Yet as his command came to a close, Murphy said, “I decided to choose a theme, and that theme is gratitude.”

That gratitude extends to his family, the district’s employees, and the countless state, local, federal, and congressional partners, who helped the district handle its largest workload since Hurricane Katrina, not including the ongoing Hurricane Ida recovery efforts, Murphy said.

As Murphy prepared to close his farewell address, he noted a bit of irony about the change of command.

“I was the 64th commander of the Nashville District and he was the 65th commander of the Nashville District,” Murphy said of Jones. “And here I was the 64th commander of the New Orleans District and Col. Jones is now the 65th commander. I know he will do great things.”

In his first remarks as commander of the New Orleans District, Jones said, “I am honored to join the premiere team of professionals at the New Orleans District, and I look forward to working with each of you.”

Holland worked with Jones during the Corps efforts to restore power to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and called him “an engineer’s engineer and one of the best.”

“With a singular vision and determination, we can accomplish a mission that is vital not only for the region, but for the nation,” said Jones.

Murphy’s next assignment is serving as the command engineer for the U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.

Charles Melton