Louisiana has been described as a ‘war zone’ with residents scrambling for food, gas and water after satellite images began to reveal the extent of Hurricane Ida’s trail of destruction through the state.
With the power off, people are struggling for relief from the sweltering heat as thousands of line workers toiled to restore electricity, and officials vowed to set up more sites where people could get free meals and cool off.
‘It looks like a war zone or a bomb went off throughout [St. John the Baptist] parish,’ state Sen. Gary Smith said on Tuesday, speaking to The Advocate. ‘There’s no part that’s unaffected.’
Power and water outages caused by the hurricane affected hundreds of thousands of people, many of them with no way to get immediate relief.
‘I don’t have a car. I don’t have no choice but to stay,’ said Charles Harris, 58, as he looked for a place to eat on Tuesday in a New Orleans’ neighborhood where Ida downed utility poles and power lines two days earlier.
Harris had no access to a generator and said the heat was starting to wear him down. New Orleans and the rest of the region were under a heat advisory, with forecasters saying the combination of high temperatures and humidity could make it feel like 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41C) on Wednesday.
Before and after satellite images have revealed the extent of the damage and flooding that Hurricane Ida has left in its wake in Louisiana.
With 150-mile-per-hour winds, Ida was the fifth-strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the U.S when it barreled across the South on Sunday night.
The Category 4 storm has caused an estimated $80 billion in damage and sparked fears of a national fuel shortage after gas refineries were forced to suspend operations.
But in its wake, residents in Louisiana are left to pick through the destruction amid a sweltering aftermath.
The before and after images show entire neighborhoods still submerged by floodwaters on Tuesday, nearly two days after the storm had made landfall in the area.
Jean Lafitte (pictured) was also submerged, it sits just south of New Orleans next to Lake Salvador
With 150-mile-per-hour winds when it came ashore, Ida tore a number of buildings apart such as those pictured in LaPlace
Before (left) and after (right) satellite images of the flooding and damage brought by Hurricane Ida in Louisiana showed entire neighborhoods still submerged, such as Barataria (pictured), Tuesday
The satellite images taken on Tuesday, nearly two days after Ida made landfall, show floodwaters in Lafitte and Barataria had not yet receded
An entire row of houses could be seen destroyed by the winds in Houma Tuesday
One set pictured Jean Lafitte, which while inland, neighbors a number of rivers which could be seen having overflowed. The flood waters still lingered.
In others, such as sets depicting the neighborhood of Houma and LaPlace, destruction from the harsh winds could be seen with rows of houses knocked down, and buildings with roofs torn off.
More than 1.1 million homes and businesses remain without power after the storm, and at least five people have been confirmed dead.
The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for Louisiana and Mississippi for Tuesday, affecting more than 2 million people, who could face heat indices of up to 105 degrees.
Officials have said restoring power could take weeks.
‘We have a lot of work ahead of us and no one is under the illusion that this is going to be a short process,’ Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
New Orleans officials announced seven places around the city where people could get a meal and sit in air conditioning.
The city was also using 70 transit buses as cooling sites and will have drive-thru food, water and ice distribution locations set up on Wednesday, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said.
Edwards said state officials also were working to set up distribution locations in other areas.
The recovery effort is just beginning in Louisiana after the storm barreled through the state, and officials have asked residents who evacuated to stay away for now
Homes destroyed on Grand Isle. It’s estimated that half of the properties on the island of about 1,400 were demolished in the hurricane
More homes destroyed on Grand Isle, where floodwaters had yet to recede as of Tuesday
A house is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in Grand Isle, Louisiana, Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Destruction is seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in Grand Isle, Louisiana, Tuesday, August 31, 2021
Louisiana residents still reeling from flooding and damage caused by Hurricane Ida scrambled for food, gas, water and relief from the sweltering heat while facing the dispiriting prospect of weeks without electricity to power air conditioners and refrigerators
Cantrell ordered a nighttime curfew Tuesday, calling it an effort to prevent crime after Hurricane Ida devastated the power system and left the city in darkness.
Police Chief Shaun Ferguson said there had been some arrests for stealing.
The mayor also said she expects the main power company Entergy to be able to provide some electricity to the city by Wednesday evening, but stressed that doesn’t mean a quick citywide restoration.
Entergy was looking at two options to ‘begin powering critical infrastructure in the area such as hospitals, nursing homes and first responders,’ the company said in a news release.
Cantrell acknowledged frustration in the days ahead.
‘We know it’s hot. We know we do not have any power, and that continues to be a priority,’ she told a news conference.
Flood and wind damage was widespread in southeast Louisana (pictured) where Ida made landfall on Sunday evening
The winds tore some homes apart, such as this one on Grand Isle, one of the hardest hit areas in the state
Damage could be seen to docking facilities at Port Fouchon. The true extent of the damage was still being assessed as of Tuesday
Homes remained flooded in LaPlace, which neighbors Lake Ponchartarain
An estimated 25,000-plus utility workers labored to restore electricity, but officials said it could take weeks.
With water treatment plants overwhelmed by floodwaters or crippled by power outages, some places were also facing shortages of drinking water.
About 441,000 people in 17 parishes had no water, and an additional 319,000 were under boil-water advisories, federal officials said.
The death toll included two people killed Monday night when seven vehicles plunged into a 20-foot-deep hole near Lucedale, Mississippi, where a highway had collapsed after torrential rains.
Among the crash victims was Kent Brown, a ‘well-liked,’ 49-year-old father of two, his brother Keith Brown said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.
Some structures were entirely demolished by the winds, such as this one picture in Des Allemands, which sits just southwest of New Orleans
More homes seen destroyed in Grand Isle. Police Chief Scooter Resweber said he was ‘amazed that no one was killed or even seriously injured.’
A resident stood in his home in Ponchatoula on Tuesday, the storm came ashore with 150 mile per hour winds
Keith Brown said his brother was in construction but had been out of work for a while.
He didn’t know where his brother was headed when the crash happened.
Edwards said he expects the death toll to rise.
In Slidell, crews searched for a 71-year-old man who was attacked by an alligator that tore off his arm as he walked through Ida’s floodwaters.
His wife pulled him to the steps of the home and paddled away to get help, but when she returned, he was gone, authorities said.
On Grand Isle, the barrier island that bore the full force of Ida’s winds, Police Chief Scooter Resweber said he was ‘amazed that no one was killed or even seriously injured.’
Residents could be seen lining up for gas at a station in New Orleans, where the entire city still remains without power
About half of the properties on the island of about 1,400 people were heavily damaged or destroyed, and the main roadway was nearly completely covered in sand brought in from the tidal surge.
‘I’ve ridden out other hurricanes: Hurricane Isaac, Katrina, Gustav, Ike. … This is the worst,’ Resweber said.
In New Orleans, drivers lined up for roughly a quarter-mile, waiting to get into a Costco that was one of the few spots in the city with gasoline.
At other gas stations, motorists occasionally pulled up to the pumps, saw the handles covered in plastic bags and drove off.