Hurricane Ida leaves Louisiana damaged, hits Mississippi, Tennessee
After Hurricane Ida left Louisiana, the storm moved into Mississippi, bringing heavy rainfall, flooding and power outages.
USA TODAY, narrative
Residents and emergency services began picking up the pieces Monday after Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc in the parishes of Terrebonne and Lafourche.
The Category 4 hurricane slammed into Port Fourchon at 11:55 a.m. Sunday with winds of 150 mph before moving slowly north, ripping roofs off buildings and homes, knocking down trees and power lines and making roads impassable.
More than 96% of homes and businesses in Terrebonne and Lafourche were without electricity and many were without mobile phones on Monday.
Entergy reported that 43,428 customers in Lafourche and 27,211 in Terrebonne were without power on Monday afternoon. The company said it could be weeks before many residents see their power supply again.
Live updates: Terrebonne Parish teams work urgently to restore water
Houma Thibodaux: Ambulances transport hundreds of patients from hospitals in the Houma-Thibodaux region damaged by Hurricane Ida
Public and Catholic schools in Terrebonne and Lafourche will remain closed until further notice, officials said.
Ambulances transported hundreds of patients from Terrebonne General, St. Anne and Chabert medical centers to other medical facilities due to major storm damage, officials said.
“Terrebonne General has suffered structural damage and there is currently no water supply through the parish,” the hospital system said.
Waterways continued to swell in the southern part of Terrebonne, outside the Morganza embankment system, parish president Gordy Dove said.
“Before we can begin the systematic process of letting residents and evacuees back into the parish, roads must be cleared and power lines checked,” Dove said.
Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson said he had received no reports of injuries, but property damage was significant.
“I know there are a lot of people who are stuck in places or have things on top of them,” Chaisson said. “This thing came in and was everything we thought it would be and more.”
Residents returning to Lafourche will have to wait at least a week because of the dangerous conditions created by the storm, Chaisson said.
“The roads of the Lafourche parish are impassable at the moment and will remain so for a while,” he said. “First responders will work around the clock to clear the way for residents to return. The first order is to clear the roads.”
Some Lafourche residents were also without running water, Chaisson said.
“Anyone served by the Lockport water plant will be out of water for the foreseeable future,” he said. “There was a main line burst at one point, so to preserve the integrity of the water we actually had, the water factory was closed.”
Despite the storm’s tremendous strength, no levees have breached in southern Lafourche, Chaisson said.
“We may have had some throughput during the storm’s peak, but it didn’t cause any fractures in the system,” Chaisson said. “The dike system is intact in the south of Lafourche. However, there were some levee breaches in Bayou Boeuf in northern Lafourche that caused some flooding.”
Hurricane Ida damage: See the damage in Houma and Terrebonne Parish caused by Hurricane Ida
“Our saving grace is that we have not received any reports of serious injuries or fatalities from this storm,” Lockport Police Chief David Harrelson said on Facebook Monday morning. “For those of you who are concerned about relatives or friends being left behind, I hope this little bit of information gives you some peace of mind.”
Terrebonne officials said no major flooding had been reported and the levees withstood the storm.
The parish was without water due to a damaged chlorine line in Schriever, officials said.
Terrebonne residents were also asked to stay off the road while crews worked to clear the debris.
“I know a lot of people have lost roofs and houses,” Terrebonne sheriff Tim Soignet said. “We are also engaged in rescue operations. We go out as soon as possible, but there are many roads full of rubble, telephone poles and trees. We need to clear some of these roads first.”
Terrebonne Parish spokesman Mart Black urged residents to remain patient while the crew clears the roads.
“Things are happening, but there is a lot to do,” Black said via email Monday. “The decision to return will be made by the parish president and sheriff when it is safe to do so. There will be 15 return points, staffed by law enforcement officers and the Louisiana National Guard.
Grand Isle was one of the first areas on the receiving end of Ida’s wrath on Sunday. The island, in the Gulf of Mexico off the southern tip of Lafourche Parish, remained unreachable Monday morning.
Police Chief “Scooter” Resweber said about 75 people remained on the island during the hurricane.
Kelli Bladsacker Scardino, one of about 1,400 permanent residents of Grand Isle, said she reluctantly decided to evacuate to Belle Chasse before the storm.
Scardino said Monday she was unable to reach anyone on the island.
“All lines of communication have been cut,” she said. “My heart is broken. I’m devastated. I don’t even know if my house is already there.”
Despite the damage and the constant threat of hurricanes, Scardino said she has no intention of leaving the house she’s known all her life.
“I’ve lived there for forty years,” she says. “I’ve never lived anywhere else. As long as there is only one grain of sand (I stay). That is what we do. We come together, we cry, we hug, then we get to work.”
Chaisson said Ida’s recovery won’t happen overnight.
“This is going to be a long road to recovery,” he said. ‘I’m not going to lie. This is much worse than what happened to Lake Charles during Laura. It will be a while before we pick up the pieces.”
— Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 448-7639 or at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DanVCopp.