While the remnants of Hurricane Ida hammered the northeast on Thursday, Lafourche Parish in southern Louisiana was just beginning the long road to recovery by restoring power, getting drinkable water back online, and cleaning up debris.
Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson said that despite the destruction, the community on the coast of Louisiana about 45 miles southwest of New Orleans has come together after the storm.
“We are far ahead of where I thought we would be at this point,” Chaisson, a fifth-generation Louisianian, told Fox News Wednesday. “It’s been a struggle but we’re doing ok.”
Chaisson estimated that about a quarter of all homes in Lafourche were completely destroyed and another 50% suffered moderate damage that will require repair.
Casey Gisclair, a resident of Lafourche who rode out the storm in Texas, said that the area currently looks like a “warzone.”
“It’s life-changing. Our lives changed on Sunday. Our entire parish’s lives changed on Sunday,” Gisclair told Fox News. “There are homes where it looks like someone went in and dropped a bomb. There’s just nothing left.”
REMNANTS OF HURRICANE IDA BRING FLOODING AND TORNADOES TO THE NORTHEAST
Repairing homes will be a long process, but Chaisson said Wednesday that the local government is focused for now on restoring power and drinkable water, as well as ensuring people have food and basic supplies.
“All of our pod sites, or points of distribution, were opened yesterday,” Chaisson said. “People are getting tarps and water and MREs. We hope to open our fifth pod tomorrow.”
Rep. Steve Scalise, a Republican who represents much of Lafourche Parish, met with Chaisson and other officials on Wednesday to discuss how the state and federal governments can best assist the community in recovering from the storm.
Port Fourchon, which is responsible for about 90% of the oil and gas production in the Gulf, took a direct hit when Hurricane Ida came onshore with 150+ mph winds.
The port is now in a recovery phase as personnel work to clear debris, secure roadways, and access the area to assess damage.
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As residents return to their homes in Lafourche Parish, Gisclair acknowledged the long road in front of them.
“This is a process that’s going to take months,” he said. “It’s going to be something that is going to last for a long, long time.”