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Thousands of Louisiana residents prepare for second night without power

Entergy crews replace a downed power pole in Hammond. Entergy crews replace a downed power pole in Hammond.
HAMMOND, LA (WVUE) -

Close to 18,000 Louisianans are without power, as of 7 PM Saturday night, after winter weather moved through the southeast part of the state, Friday.

Entergy tells Fox 8 about 14,000 of those residents are in Tangipahoa Parish.

"Snow is great. It's a lot of fun, but sometimes it has problems that it brings with it," said Hammond resident Jeff Oescher.

Unfortunately for Oescher, he's one of the ones dealing with problems. 

He lost power at 2 AM, Friday.

"There was a telephone pole with the transformer that, apparently, the foundation started to give away and the telephone pole kept leaning farther and farther and farther over and the wires that were attached to it got closer and closer to the street," Oescher explained.

Oescher called the police, who closed off his street and called Entergy.

"We stayed all day Friday and tried to tough it out," said Oescher. "And when it got down to 50° in the house, we packed it in and went to a friends house."

Luckily for his neighbor, Wynne Klima, her house runs on gas heat, but she still had her share of inconveniences.

"I just move my whole freezer to all of the neighbors' freezers," Klima laughed.

Nevertheless, the two are optimistic. They say Entergy crews were on hand within two hours of the call.

"They've had to take the telephone pole, old one out, replace it with a new one and reattach all the wires in the transformer," said Oescher

Entergy officials say crews have been working around the clock for the last 48 hours-- removing branches, picking up wire, refusing circuits, all while ensuring lines are grounded. 

"It's been very slow going. A lot of the outages that we had were on very small line sections. We had about 600 small line sections with customers out," explained Melonie Stewart.

Stewart says this storm was especially challenging because, instead of restoring 2,000 or 3,000 customers with each repair, they're helping less than 100.

We are only picking up 10 to 20 customers so, as you can imagine, it's many, many small problems that we have to fix in order to get any significant number of customers back in power," Stewart said.

Yet, residents like Oescher and Klima say they're grateful.

It could have been a lot worse.

"This is nothing--two days without electricity-- I mean, what did they go through back into thousand five?" Said Klimt.

"The only problem is we didn't stick around long enough to get a snowman built in our yard," said Oescher.

Entergy officials expect most customers will have power restored by Sunday night.

For more information about Entergy power outages, please click here

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