Week after Hurricane Ida's landfall, hundreds of thousands still without power
One week after Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, hundreds of thousands of residents were still without power, and the state confirmed a 13th storm-related death Sunday.
More than 590,000 homes and businesses in Louisiana were without power Sunday, according to PowerOutage.us. About 24,000 people were working "around the clock" to restore power, Louisiana's largest electric utility company, Entergy, said Saturday.
Most residents in New Orleans will have power by Wednesday, but some of the hardest-hit areas – including Lafourche, Lower Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Charles and Terrebonne parishes – may be in the dark until the end of the month, Entergy estimates.
The storm damaged or destroyed more than 22,000 power poles, 26,000 spans of wire and 5,261 transformers – that’s more poles damaged or destroyed than hurricanes Katrina, Zeta and Delta combined, the company said. At the peak, 902,000 customers had lost power.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line announced Saturday it entered into a charter agreement with Entergy to deploy its flagship vessel Grand Classica to New Orleans to house more than 1,500 workers as they restore power to the region.
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In Terrebonne Parish, Kentrell Garner and his two sons filled a large pot with bottled water Friday to boil shrimp for them and their neighbors. The trio stood among the stilts that once held up their home. The poles and part of the floor were all that remained intact. The rest was in piles.
Garner, 35, and his girlfriend had been renovating this house and living in another home down the bayou in Ashland South.
"It's gone, too," he said.
With both homes destroyed by Hurricane Ida, the couple and four kids – ages 3 to 17 – are spending their nights split between a shed and a camper that somehow made it through the Category 4 storm.
"We're homeless," he said, taking a breath.
At least 17 deaths were blamed on Ida in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. In the Northeast, Ida’s remnants dumped record-breaking rain and killed at least 50 people from Virginia to Connecticut.
The Louisiana Department of Health confirmed Sunday that a 74-year-old man in Orleans Parish died from heat during the power outage, the 13th storm-related death in the state.
The National Weather Service issued multiple heat advisories last week because of the high humidity and temperatures in the region, and another was in effect Sunday for portions of southern Mississippi and southeast Louisiana.
The National Weather Service said heat index values were expected to range from 100 to 105 degrees.
"Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors," the National Weather Service said.
Louisiana's death toll also includes five nursing home residents evacuated ahead of the hurricane along with hundreds of other seniors to a warehouse, where health officials said conditions became unsafe.
"The lack of regard for these vulnerable residents' well-being is an affront to human dignity. We have lost trust in these nursing homes to provide adequate care for their residents," Dr. Joseph Kanter, Louisiana’s state health officer, said in a news release Saturday.
As of now, Ida is the deadliest hurricane the U.S. has seen in four years and the deadliest storm in the Northeast since 2012's catastrophic Superstorm Sandy, which killed more than 100 people.
President Joe Biden traveled to Louisiana over the weekend to survey the damage and announced he will travel to Manville, New Jersey, and Queens, New York, on Tuesday.
Contributing: Leigh Guidry, The Daily Advertiser; The Associated Press