Four days after Hurricane Ida struck, the storm’s aftermath—and progress in recovering from it—are being felt unevenly across Louisiana.
The power was back on before dawn Thursday in the New Orleans’ central business district, Uptown, Midtown, New Orleans East and the Carrollton area, the electricity company Entergy announced. Utility crews also restored power to Ochsner Health’s main hospital campus in Jefferson Parish and several hospitals around Baton Rouge. City crews completely cleared some New Orleans streets of fallen trees and debris, and a few corner stores reopened.
Outside New Orleans, neighborhoods remain flooded and residents are still reeling from damage to their homes and property. President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Louisiana on Friday to survey the damage, the White House says.
In Jefferson Parish, authorities on Wednesday were still waiting for floodwaters to recede enough for trucks carrying food, water and repair supplies to begin moving into Lafitte and other low-lying communities.
Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng said a gas shortage was hampering hospital staff, food bank employees and other critical workers.
Evacuees considering returning home to Terrebonne Parish were warned by emergency officials on Twitter that “there are no shelters, no electricity, very limited resources for food, gasoline and supplies and absolutely no medical services.”
Gov. John Bel Edwards says he’s pleased that power returned for some people. It’s “critically important to show progress” after the storm, he says, while acknowledging that much more work lies ahead. Roughly 2,600 people remain in shelters, he said.
The staggering scope of the disaster is beginning to come into focus, with a private firm estimating that total damage from Ida could exceed $50 billion, making it among the costliest U.S. hurricanes. The death toll has also risen to at least 14, with eight more deaths reported in New York City this morning as Ida’s remnants unleashed floods across the northeastern U.S. Earlier deaths included a 65-year-old woman who drowned in her Louisiana home and a 19-year-old found dead in a Maryland apartment complex just north of the nation’s capital.