In Louisiana, Rescue Workers Search for Those Stranded by Hurricane Ida

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More than a cardinal people, including astir successful New Orleans, were without electricity, but the city’s levees held.

A span  starring  to Jean Lafitte, La., was impassable connected  Monday successful  the aftermath  of Hurricane Ida.
Credit...Edmund D. Fountain for The New York Times

Aug. 30, 2021Updated 9:47 p.m. ET

NEW ORLEANS — Rescue teams fanned retired crossed Louisiana connected Monday searching for radical near stranded successful the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, adjacent arsenic New Orleans emerged from its astir superior onslaught since Hurricane Katrina assured that its levees had held.

While metropolis residents could instrumentality a measurement of alleviation astatine having dodged a catastrophic flood, respective surrounding communities remained chopped disconnected by the storm, with the grade of the devastation successful those areas inactive coming into focus. More than a cardinal people, including astir of New Orleans, were near without electricity, much than 300,000 were without h2o and immoderate 2,000 were successful shelters, officials said.

New Orleans did not person a functioning 911 strategy for much than 12 hours connected Monday, leaving officials to counsel those successful request of exigency assistance to spell to their nearest occurrence station.

At slightest 3 deaths person been attributed to the storm, officials said: A antheral died portion driving successful New Orleans; a pistillate was recovered dormant successful the sportfishing colony of Jean Lafitte, southbound of the city; and a antheral was killed successful Prairieville, astir 20 miles southeast of Baton Rouge, wherever a histrion fell connected a house.

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Credit...Edmund D. Fountain for The New York Times

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Credit...Edmund D. Fountain for The New York Times

All crossed southeastern Louisiana, officials and volunteers responded, sometimes successful boats, to calls from residents stranded successful houses swamped successful the rising waters. In Jefferson Parish alone, the authorities rescued much than 70 radical from flooded neighborhoods.

But the destiny of galore others remained unclear arsenic rescuers struggled to scope those who had stayed location to thrust retired the storm. Gov. John Bel Edwards of Louisiana said helium expected the decease toll to emergence “considerably.”

Hospitals successful the state, already strained by a surge of Covid-19 patients, braced for an influx of radical injured successful the storm. Louisiana has been dealing with 1 of the worst coronavirus outbreaks successful the nation, leaving infirmary unit exhausted and disposable beds limited.

Several hospitals had to beryllium evacuated connected Monday, officials said, including St. Anne successful Raceland, Chabert successful Houma and Lady of the Sea successful Galliano, wherever precocious winds ripped portions of the extortion disconnected connected Sunday.

The unit of the tempest — with sustained winds reaching arsenic precocious arsenic 150 miles per hr — amazed adjacent those accustomed to riding retired almighty hurricanes.

“My extortion conscionable flew off, the full roof,” said Alexis Johnson, speaking extracurricular a civic halfway successful Houma that served arsenic a structure for residents of the severely deed metropolis astir 60 miles southwest of New Orleans. “I stayed inactive truthful the upwind wouldn’t instrumentality me.” Now, she said, she and her girl person obscurity to go.

“I can’t spell home,” Ms. Johnson said. “We person thing left.”

President Biden, who received a briefing connected the tempest from section officials connected Monday, said that the “people successful Louisiana and Mississippi are resilient” and that the national authorities would “stand with you and the radical of the Gulf for arsenic agelong arsenic it takes for you to recover.”

Dozens of radical who stayed successful Grand Isle, a constrictive beachy islet of homes connected stilts facing the Gulf of Mexico, remained chopped disconnected and unreachable for overmuch of Monday arsenic telephone lines were down and the 1 roadworthy successful and retired was impassable.

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Credit...Callaghan O'Hare for The New York Times

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Credit...Callaghan O'Hare for The New York Times

Water had pushed past oregon “overtopped” the levees astir tiny towns successful the confederate fractional of Jefferson Parish, said Cynthia Lee Sheng, the parish president, sending respective 100 radical who were riding retired the tempest determination into attics and onto roofs.

A 10-foot-high surge topped a levee successful Plaquemines Parish, southeast of New Orleans, connected Sunday, officials determination said. That levee is extracurricular the national tempest hazard simplification system, successful an country wherever the National Hurricane Center had warned that overtopping of section levees was possible.

No specified overtopping took spot on immoderate of the 192 miles of flood barriers that clasp h2o backmost from New Orleans, according to the Flood Protection Authority, the section bureau that runs the Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System. Nor had immoderate of those barriers suffered a structural failure, called a breach.

The levee systems “performed magnificently,” Governor Edwards said. “The harm is inactive catastrophic, but it was chiefly wind-driven.”

The levee strategy was hardened and expanded aft Hurricane Katrina successful 2005, erstwhile the metropolis had likewise appeared to person avoided catastrophe from the storm, lone to ticker arsenic the levees failed and the metropolis flooded the adjacent day.

But the strategy built astatine a outgo of much than $14 cardinal to support New Orleans had worked, according to Elizabeth Zimmerman, who ran catastrophe operations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency during the Obama administration.

“It’s a large accomplishment,” Ms. Zimmerman said. “The things that were built were a large measurement forward.”

Yet arsenic Ida moved done the state, the tempest caused “catastrophic transmission damage” to the electrical system, leaving much than a cardinal inferior customers without power.

Entergy, a large powerfulness institution successful Louisiana, said connected Monday that it would “likely instrumentality days to find the grade of harm to our powerfulness grid and acold longer to reconstruct electrical transmission to the region.”

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Credit...Edmund D. Fountain for The New York Times

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Credit...Callaghan O'Hare for The New York Times

All 8 transmission lines that bring energy into New Orleans were knocked retired of work by the storm, according to the powerfulness utility. On Monday, the institution said 216 substations and much than 2,000 miles of transmission lines were retired of service. One transmission enactment that spans the Mississippi River was down.

“I’ve been present 61 years. I’ve ne'er experienced thing similar this before,” Glenn Brady said arsenic helium pulled waterlogged rugs and carpets from his location successful LaPlace. He recalled watching the tempest rip the columns retired of his neighbor’s beforehand structure and sprout them done a beforehand window.

“I decidedly got a newfound fearfulness for hurricanes,” helium said.

In Houma, it was the beardown winds and not the rising waters that brought the astir destruction. “The trees and powerfulness lines were swaying backmost and distant and past they yet snapped,” Hannah Carter, 39, said. “It was horrifying.”

Daylight provided a glimpse of the devastation successful this metropolis of astir 33,000 people. The tempest leveled buildings, smashed trees into homes and filled full blocks with debris.

“We can’t enactment here,” said Dusan Roncevic, 47, estimating it would instrumentality weeks for officials to reconstruct powerfulness and different services to the region.

Ida astonished meteorologists with its accelerated intensification successful the days earlier it made landfall connected Sunday adjacent Port Fourchon arsenic a Category 4 storm. And it maintained its strength for longer aft coming ashore than is emblematic for hurricanes, a effect of the swampy terrain and the information it was inactive increasing successful spot arsenic it reached the coast.

By Monday, the halfway of the tempest crossed into occidental Mississippi, slowing and weakening into a tropical slump arsenic it swept northward. Its way is expected to curve northeastward done the evening, and past into the Tennessee Valley connected Tuesday.

Though the tempest had moved on, New Orleans officials urged residents not to instrumentality to a metropolis inactive struggling to get backmost connected its feet. “Now is not the clip for re-entry into the metropolis of New Orleans,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said during an day quality conference.

Most metropolis streets were strewn with a carpet of greenish leaves and littered with ample pieces of debris — metallic roofs, wood fences — and fallen trees.

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Credit...Callaghan O'Hare for The New York Times

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Credit...Emily Kask for The New York Times

By the archetypal hours of Monday, each neighborhood’s occurrence presumption was besides tasked with a caller responsibility. With the city’s 911 lines down, officials mass-texted residents, telling them to question assistance successful idiosyncratic from the nearest occurrence presumption oregon constabulary officer.

At a occurrence presumption connected Poland Avenue, a generator powered the lights and kitchen, but its firefighters were reliant connected hand-held radios for immoderate communication. “We’re each successful the acheronian close now,” said 1 firefighter, who sat adjacent the station’s unfastened store doors connected Monday morning, acceptable to assistance anyone walking up for help.

The strategy was up and moving again by precocious afternoon.

Some residents who person lived done erstwhile storms said they were taking the powerfulness outage and a boil-water advisory successful stride.

“Guess what? This is portion of beingness successful New Orleans,” Antoine Davis, 58, said arsenic helium stopped astatine Duplantier Ice astatine the borderline of the French Quarter for bags of crystal to support his refrigerator cold. “If we lived successful California, determination would beryllium fires and earthquakes. If we lived successful Tennessee close now, we’d person floods.”

Over connected Elysian Fields Avenue a fewer blocks from the river, Darrian Rivers, 41, was shaking his caput astatine the harm to his house’s second-floor beforehand porch, present missing 1 of its ample achromatic woody columns.

He and his neighbors were near wondering if their lives would beryllium enactment connected clasp for days oregon adjacent weeks arsenic they waited for the powerfulness to return. “Everybody wants to cognize what’s next,” helium said. “That’s the question I support hearing. ‘What’s next?’”

Reporting was contributed by Rick Rojas, Stacy Cowley, Giulia Heyward, Richard Fausset, Campbell Robertson, Jesus Jiménez and Winston Choi-Schagrin.

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