NEW ORLEANS (AP) – In New Orleans, an ongoing power outage after Hurricane Ida makes the sweltering summer unbearable. But in some areas outside the city, this misery is compounded by a lack of water, flooded neighborhoods and badly damaged houses.
Four days after Hurricane Ida passed, the impact of the storm – and progress in recovery – is unevenly felt in affected communities in Louisiana. The levee system was revamped after Katrina protected New Orleans from catastrophic flooding after Ida struck Sunday with winds of 150 mph (230 km / h), tied for the fifth strongest hurricane to have never hit the American continent
Power was restored before dawn Thursday to the city’s central business district, Uptown, Midtown, New Orleans East and the Carrollton area, power company Entergy said. Utility crews also restored power to the main campus of Ochsner Hospital in Jefferson Parish and several hospitals near Baton Rouge. City crews have completely cleared some New Orleans streets of fallen trees and debris, and a few local stores have reopened.
Outside of New Orleans, neighborhoods remained flooded and residents were still reeling from the damage to their homes and property. More than 1,200 people were walking through some of Ida’s hardest-hit communities looking for those in need of help, according to the Louisiana Fire Marshal’s Office. President Joe Biden was due to visit Louisiana on Friday to assess the damage, the White House said.
Gayle Lawrence lost two cars, refrigerators and almost everything in her garage to flood waters in the parish of Plaquemines in southern Louisiana. The garage was filled with swamp grasses and dead fish. Dozens of other houses in the area were also flooded.
“The house is solid. He hasn’t even moved. But when the water rose, it destroyed everything, ”she said.
Authorities in Jefferson Parish were still waiting for floodwaters to recede enough for trucks carrying food, water and repair supplies to begin moving to Lafitte and other communities in the Jefferson Parish on Wednesday. low altitude. The neighboring parish of New Orleans and saw the widespread destruction of Ida.
Parish president Cynthia Lee Sheng said a gas shortage was hampering hospital staff, food bank workers and other essential workers.
“Today we are a broken community,” Sheng said at a press conference. “It won’t always be that way. “
Evacuees considering returning to their homes in the parish of Terrebonne were warned by emergency officials on Twitter that “there is no shelter, no electricity, very limited resources for food, l ‘gasoline and supplies and absolutely no medical services’.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he was happy that power had returned for some people. It is “extremely important to show progress” after the storm, he said, while acknowledging that there is still a lot of work to be done. About 2,600 people remain in shelters, he said.
“I am very aware that this is a start, and only a start,” he said at a press conference.
As the staggering scale of the disaster began to kick in, with a private company estimating that Ida’s total damage could exceed $ 50 billion, making it one of America’s costliest hurricanes.
The death toll has risen to at least 14, with eight more deaths reported in New York City on Thursday morning as Ida’s remains sparked flooding in the northeastern United States. a year old was found dead in a Maryland apartment complex just north of the nation’s capital.
But about 989,000 homes and businesses – 44% of all utility customers in Southeast Louisiana, from the New Orleans area to Baton Rouge – were without power, according to the Public Service Commission of the ‘State. In neighboring Mississippi, more than 30,000 customers did not have electricity. More than 600,000 people were without water.
Hard-hit areas in southeast Louisiana were subject to a heat advisory on Thursday, with forecasters warning that the combined heat and humidity could make some areas appear to have a temperature of 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius ).
Officials in New Orleans opened seven places where people could eat and sit in the air conditioning. The city was also using 70 transit buses as cooling sites, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said.
Karen Evans loaded up electronics at a New Orleans gym where four big fans waved the air. Her house in the city was not damaged, but she struggled without electricity.
“The big challenge is living in a stuffy place without air conditioning,” she said.
Deslatte reported from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Associated Press editors Kevin McGill in New Orleans; Stacey Plaisance in Lafitte, Louisiana; Jeff Martin in Marietta, Georgia; Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Mississippi; Seth Borenstein in Kensington, Maryland; Sudhin Thanawala in Atlanta; and Russ Bynum in Savannah, Georgia, contributed to this report.