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Edwards updates on Ida recovery and response

Edwards Ida 9-9.PNG
Posted at 4:30 PM, Sep 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-09 17:30:50-04

Governor Edwards held a press briefing on Hurricane Ida recovery.

He first updated on his decision to push back the fall elections in the state.

Edwards signed an executive order formally delaying the upcoming fall elections in Louisiana, following severe damage from Hurricane Ida in southeast Louisiana, which would make holding the election difficult and could lead to challenges for displaced voters.

"Secretary Ardoin briefed me this past Tuesday on the upcoming fall elections. Based on his reporting and certification to me yesterday that holding the elections as currently scheduled would impair the integrity of those elections, based on numerous issues related to displaced voters and election day personnel as well as extensive power outages and damage to early-voting and election day polling places, I signed an executive order today to reschedule the upcoming fall elections," Gov. Edwards said.

The elections that would have been held on October 9 will now be held on November 13 and the general elections for run-offs that would have been held on November 13 will now be held on December 11.
Early voting is also rescheduled for both election dates – the first early voting period will be held October 30 through November 6, except for Sunday October 31, and the second early voting period will be held November 27 through December 4, except for Sunday November 28.

Click here to read the Governor’s executive order. People with questions can view the Secretary of State’s website at SOS.La.Gov or GeauxVote.com.

On Wednesday, 11 people were added to the list of storm related deaths in Louisiana. A majority of those deaths were heat related. See those details here.

Power restoration is still ongoing in those parishes affected.

3,056 people are still being sheltered in Louisiana. The D-SNAP process is in progress, Edwards said and asks that people pre-register for those benefits so they may be able to receive them once approved.

Edwards says that D-SNAP usually comes weeks after a storm has moved through. More is expected in the coming weeks.

8,835 active service members activated in the state. 5,200 miles of roadway assessed.

68 points of distribution in 38 parishes and distributed meals, supplies, sandbags, waters and other much needed items.

Blue roofs are now going up in the state, the first one in Orleans parish.

Eligible parishes are now: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana

The program provides homeowners in disaster areas with fiber-reinforced sheeting to cover their damaged roofs until permanent repairs are made.

To sign up, visit blueroof.us or call 1-888-766-3258. Residents apply by using a Right of Entry (ROE) form, which gathers information about the residence.

More information on the Blue Roof Program can be found here.

535 sholder miles and removed miles of debris from roadways. 511la.org will show debris pickup status.

State offices in several parishes are still closed. Those state offices are in the following 12 parishes will be closed Friday, Sept. 10 through Sunday, Sept. 12: Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Terrebonne.

Edwards also briefly spoke on COVID in the state, syaing that vaccinations are on the rise. "The numbers are improving but we still have a long way to go," he said.

Dr. Joseph Kanter with LDH updated on waters systems saying 25 systems remain out in the state. 152 water systems are under a boil water advisory. "Those numbers came down significantly today."

Kanter says that the state is still focusing on preventable deaths. As of Thursday the state has a total of 26 storm-related deaths.

A majority of these deaths were carbon monoxide and or heat related deaths. Dr. Kanter reminded those that are using generators to use them safely.

"Carbon monoxide poisoning is so quick and so silent," he said. "It gives no warning." He urges that people using generators keep them outside, away from homes and buildings and use carbon monoxide devices.

The heat will subside for a few days but it is expected to rise again, he said. Because of that, Dr. Kanter recommends that Louisianans who are working outside, take precautions such as working in the early morning hours of the day and taking frequent breaks.

Dr. Kanter also reported his concern over West Nile Virus, which he says tends to uptick following storms. He says there are cases of West Nile Virus in the state. He asks that when mosquitoes are out, wear bug repellent or long sleeves. He also asked residents to remove standing water to keep the breeding ground for mosquitoes at a minimum.

On COVID-19, Dr. Kanter says it appears that the state has peaked and the numbers are moving in the right direction. Percent positivity has gone down to 11.3 percent. All parishes remain, however, in the high risk category of positivity, he said.

Monoclonal Antibody treatment is being made available in the state. Ochsner Lafayette General announced more treatments. Read more here.

He added that stresses for the storm and pandemic can be challenging for mental health. Resources from LDH can be found here for those who may need it.

Chip Kline updated on levee protection projects and how they performed during and after Hurricane Ida.

Kline says that Ida tested levees like they have never been tested before. "But these levees held."

The Hurricane Risk Reduction system, he says, got its first true test and fully operational. The first time was in Hurricane Barry.

"It performed as we wanted it to, how we needed it to." he said.

Larose to Golden Meadow system, had the teams attention during the storm. It withstood a 16ft storm surge. There were not failures and no over topping, he said.
Morganza to the Gulf - protects 250,000 people in Terrebonne Parish.

The floodgates in the system, designed to keep water out and not in. Water stacked up against the floodgates at the Bubba Dove floodgate. A hinge came off of a flood gate and water did get in. Kline says currently, emergency dewatering operations are in place to keep populations safe. Several other floodgates had minor issues, he said, including issues with electrical systems.

"We are continued to be reminded how vulnerable the river parishes are," Kline said.

Over-topping did occur on parish owned levees in Plaquemines and St. Bernard Parish. Work is being done to alleviate those issues.

Grand Isle and Lafitte, Kline said, was a sobering sight. "We are not going to forget about these areas. We have got to fundamentally change the way we protect those areas."

He says they will be working with the Corps of Engineers and Congressional leaders to find different ways to better protect those two locations.

Coastal Restoration has held strong, Kline says. Marshes and Barrier Islands helped knock down storm surge and proved to be sustainable.

Restoration to barrier islands and other ecosystems will continue, he said.

Edwards before taking questions announced a hurricane Ida relief fund was created to those areas affected by the storm. The Governor asked that those in the state and across the country to be generous in their help to those in need.

The fund was created in collaboration with Governor Edwards and community foundations across Southeast Louisiana. To make a donation, go to idaresponse.org is where donations can be made. Donations are tax deductible.

Community foundations partnering in this effort are Greater New Orleans Foundation, Bayou Community Foundation in Houma, Northshore Community Foundation in Covington and Baton Rouge Area Foundation, which is the fiscal agent for the Hurricane Ida Relief and Recovery Fund.

Edwards is expecting to travel to Terrebonne Parish on Friday.

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