Hurricane Ida made landfall shortly before noon on Sunday, August 29, as an extremely dangerous Category 4 hurricane near Port Fourchon, Louisiana. The storm swept through areas like Grand Isle, Dulac, Houma, and many, many more small towns along the Gulf Coast with maximum sustained winds of 150 mph.
It's now been one month since the storm struck the Louisiana coast, and communities are still working to recover and move forward.
We're taking a look at some of the areas and entities worst hit and how they're doing one month after Ida.
"There is still a long road to recovery. As debris clean up continues, we are facing the daunting tasks of cleaning our homes, and in some cases, gutting our homes. Debris contractors will likely be in Lafourche Parish for the next couple of months as we get the estimated million cubic yards of debris off the ground. To put this into perspective, Lafourche Parish only had about 150,000 cubic yards for Hurricane Zeta last year and 500,000 cubic yards for Katrina. Entergy continues to make progress with getting the lights back on and we expect most people to have power by their September 29th published restoration date. FEMA has set up multiple Disaster Recovery Centers to meet with residents such as our Mathews Government Complex location and at the Geaux Pass Office in Golden Meadow. More FEMA personnel come in every day, and we are working to canvass the parish door to door to make it easier for people to communicate and receive the help they need.
“In our wildest imaginations, we as a parish, would have never dreamed of facing a global pandemic, record numbers of storms, and now the largest storm in our lifetime within a two-year period, but we weathered the storms together, head on,” said Parish President Archie Chaisson. “As we return to school, and get back to our routines, don’t forget about your neighbors. Check on them and lend a hand when you can as we are all dealing with this in various ways. Our Parish will come back better than we were before, stronger together!” said Chaisson.
Roadways are clear to and within Port Fourchon. Water supply has been restored, along with most cell service. No convenience stores, gas stations, or restaurants are open as of September 27. Port Fourchon says it is making "continual progress" post-Ida.
594,823 cubic yards and 12,202 loads of debris has been removed from Jefferson Parish as of September 27. There were 104 trucks collecting debris on September 28 throughout the parish, including Grand Isle and Lafitte.
Grand Isle is closed to everyone but residents and camp owners for ongoing recovery, and is closed for recreational activities. Ida made landfall about 10 miles southwest of Grand Isle, and the small community was "devastated" by the storm. Officials say the damage is the worst that the island has endured since Katrina. Soon after the storm, parish officials said Grand Isle was "uninhabitable."
- 80% of the island's structures sustained damage
- 100% of the Entergy power system was damaged
- The parish's water distribution system was damaged
"The decision to close the island was a difficult one," said Mayor David Camardelle, "but it is in everyone's best interest." There are currently 200 personnel from various agencies working to clean up the damage.
More than 95% of power has been restored within Terrebonne Parish as of Tuesday, September 28. Entergy officials say they are facing material shortages and are working on individual transformer cases. Extensive work continues in the Chauvin and Montegut substation areas.
One of the highest power outage numbers is in St. John the Baptist Parish, where nearly 51% of customers remain without power.
As of 8 a.m. on September 28, 2,448 South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association (SLECA) customers remain without power. SLECA serves over 17,000 customers in a five-parish area: Assumption, Lafourche, St. Martin, St. Mary, and Terrebonne.
Ida's damage to Entergy's distribution system was "unprecedented," causing more damage to or destroying more utility poles than Hurricanes Katrina, Ike, Delta, and Zeta combined. Customer outages peaked at nearly 902,000 statewide. Nearly 27,000 personnel from 41 states were assembled to assist in recovery. Parish information as of September 29 include:
- Lafourche Parish: Fluctuating outage numbers, estimated date of restoration is Sept. 29
- Lower Jefferson Parish: Fluctuating outage numbers, estimated date of restoration is Sept. 29
- Terrebonne Parish: Fluctuating outage numbers, estimated date of restoration is Sept. 29
Ochsner Health System officials say it delayed around 65,000 clinic visits due to Hurricane Ida and delayed more than 7,000 surgeries/procedures as a result of Ida and the fourth surge of COVID-19. Nearly 70% of those procedures have been rescheduled, and officials say one of their top priorities is to get those individuals who had delayed care rescheduled. They say they understand many patients are focusing on damage to their homes and communities instead of their own health, so they are working to take care of those residents.
Nearly 1,500 Ochsner employees remain in hotels throughout the bayou region. Clinics overall have returned to 100% operations in terms of patient volume, and ORs are running at 95%.
Staffing remains a major concern; officials say not all patients are ready to return and are still dealing with housing damage and other issues, but the system's clinics have the capability to care for all patients at this time.
Terrebonne General Health System was one of the hardest hit by Ida. Several patients from Terrebonne General and Ochsner facilities were transported to hospitals throughout the state and even Texas due to damage to hospitals.
RECOVERY TEAM UPDATES
As of September 29, the Louisiana National Guard has distributed 310,223 tarps, rescued 397 citizens and 65 pets, assessed 5,314 miles of roads and cleared 2,946 miles of roads, cleared 50,355 cubic yards of debris from 170 facilities, and distributed 6,634,777 MREs. LANG is also working to repair damage to a breached levee in Grand Isle, and has supported numerous other recovery efforts throughout southeast Louisiana.
FEMA has approved more than $6.5 million in total Individual & Household Program Dollars, and has approved nearly 500,000 Individual Assistance applications. Disaster Survivor Assistance crews continue to canvass neighborhoods to provide updates and answer questions for residents affected by Ida. Recovery efforts parish-by-parish can be found here.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has extended the deadline for its Blue Roof Program until October 15 for residents who sustained damage in 25 eligible parishes. On average, the Corps is installing more than 1,000 roofs per day, weather permitting, and has set a goal of 60 days for 100% of the roofs to be installed. More information on the program can be found here.
About 70,000 students remain out of school because of damage caused by Ida, nearly 1 in 10 of the state's K-12 students. Most of the students are in Terrebonne, Lafourche, Jefferson, and St. Charles Parishes. Terrebonne Parish schools were set to begin reopening on September 29.
Our media partners at The Advocate report that the St. Charles and Lafourche Parish school districts are facing $150 million in damages from the storm.
HOW TO HELP
Communities from across the state have come together to help those impacted by Ida, from holding donation drives and delivering supplies, to fundraisers and first responders and linemen traveling to assist other first responders and recovery teams. If you'd like to help out, KATC has a full list that can be found here.
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