Louisiana's post-Ida life is challenging and exciting

Life in Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish is a mix of frustration and a little adventure since Hurricane Ida, with cowboys wrangling loose cattle on a highway, residents navigating alligator-infested floodwaters to get home and thousands waiting in long lines for gas and food.

Louisiana's post-Ida life is challenging and exciting

Life in Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish is a mix of frustration and a little adventure since Hurricane Ida, with cowboys wrangling loose cattle on a highway, residents navigating alligator-infested floodwaters to get home and thousands waiting in long lines for gas and food.

TheEditor
TheEditor
02 September 2021 Thursday 16:23
973 Reads
Louisiana's post-Ida life is challenging and exciting

The good news is that no one was hurt in the Category 4 storm that battered the narrow strip of soggy land southeast New Orleans. The downside is that thousands of homes were damaged and many are without power or water. It's not clear when normal will return to normal.

Gail Rudolph stated Wednesday that "it's getting worse" as she sat in a pickup truck close to a closed grocery shop where many were waiting for it.

Chris Vanhoosier waited in line for over an hour to fill up several 5-gallon gas cans.

"We are waiting for the water back on. He said that they lost a generator and once it comes back on, we'll be able to do a little better."

A few miles further down, at the tip of Louisiana's boot-shaped coastline, was it like an Old West scene, as horseback wranglers used ropes to capture a black cow who had become stranded in the storm. They finally managed to get it into a corral on the highway after about 15 minutes of hard work.

One of the cowboys said, "There are a few hundred more out there."

Further south, Ben Tucker rode in the boat with Robert Singlemen and Michael Restock, his nephews, to visit his fish camp at Myrtle Grove Marina.

They navigated slowly through flood fields, past snakes, alligators, and hundreds of dead nutrients, to find a neighborhood of approximately 70 flooded houses. Many of these homes were missing siding, and many had the contents of their first-floor carports and garages that were destroyed by Ida's storm surge.

There was mud everywhere and it was only partially washed away by a thunderstorm in the afternoon. Tucker's fishing gear was all over the place, and his benches by his dock were also gone. The main floor, which is on stilts, looked remarkably dry. The roof also seemed to be in good condition.

Tucker stated that things could get worse.

It's here. It survived. He said, "It ain't very pretty, but we'll return."

Gayle Lawrence, Gayle's neighbor next door, rode Ida along with her husband. She worried about the loss of two cars and refrigerators in the garage. It was filled with dead fish and marsh grass.

"The house was solid and didn't move. She said that the water flooded and destroyed everything.

The mandatory evacuation order remains in effect for the entire parish, while the voluntary evacuation order applies to Belle Chasse. Officials said that workers are currently removing a levee in one area to allow water to drain toward the Gulf. Due to power outages, water service is limited and local government offices will be closed until next week.

Kirk Lepine, Parish President, urged Ida residents to remain away until roads are cleared, power restored and dead livestock removed.

We want to see your smile. We want you home. He said that he would not allow it to happen right now.

Plaquemines is often credited with calling Louisiana a "sportsman’s paradise." In this 23,000-person parish, taxidermists are skilled at making all the deer heads and mounted fish that hang on the walls of homes. Sometimes they are placed beside paintings of shrimp, crabs and other coastal delicacies.

Some call these "fish camps", but they look a lot like the large, beautiful houses that line the Gulf Coast. The area's oil and refinery workers have enough money to live a comfortable life, with plenty of spare cash for fishing gear, boats, and hunting gear. It's a place that allows you to forget all the troubles of the world.

It's amazing. It's a place of peace and serenity. It's almost like being on an island, except for when there's a hurricane," Lawrence, 79, said. She retired to Plaquemines Parish in Plaquemines with Warren. "We discussed selling when this was happening, but we can’t do that."

Tucker, who lives in Gretna, New Orleans, and works for a road-building firm, may leave the parish one day. It's difficult to imagine when. Good fishing, great beer, and hurricanes can come and go like alligators.

He said, "As long it's more enjoyable than work, I'm all for it."

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