Jefferson Parish officials speak on Hurricane Ida aftermath

Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng addresses hurricane aftermath.
Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng addresses hurricane aftermath.(WVUE)
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 9:04 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 31, 2021 at 9:16 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON PARISH, La. (WVUE) - Jefferson Parish officials held a public press conference at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 31 to discuss the aftermath efforts being taken after Hurricane Ida.

Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng led tonight’s address, stating search and rescue remained the primary focus.

As water continues to go down on roads, Sheng said the next step is de-watering people’s homes. The parish has requested additional pumps to do so.

Many officials touched on the situation in Grand Isle. They say the island is uninhabitable, with breaks in the levee and 100% of the structures receiving damage. The only people remaining in the town are the mayor, first responders, and police chief.

Those assessing damages say there is a very strong natural gas smell. Sheng said while there is currently no means of communication in the town, they are working on setting up communication so they can let residents know when they can return home.

Sheng encourages those that remain in Jefferson Parish to evacuate due to no electricity, low amounts of gasoline and safety concerns. The nighttime curfew is still in effect from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. The curfew will be reassessed on Monday morning.

She also said the parish is coordinating assets and additional resources with many agencies and they should be hearing about relief in the next few days.

Those that need assistance or would like to leave the area can call (504) 349-5360 to be transported to a shelter in Alexandria.

Congressman Steve Scalise brought a generator that is currently being used at the Westbank Water Plant. He says FEMA has started up their Individual Assistance Program for those who may be without power or water for an extended amount of time. You can apply for assistance here. Scalise also said help from Congress has been requested and he hopes to hear back soon.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joesph Lopino said they were able to take a helicopter to deliver supplies to areas that were not accessible by road. He said very few gas stations are open and the ones that are have extremely long lines.

Entergy Representative Patrick Hamby says they are in the process of evaluating all transmission damages. He says they are working on clearing downed trees and power lines in order to restore power. He says they expect very limited first light will be on by midnight on Wednesday, Sept. 1. This will be in areas around hospitals and other critical infrastructure.

When they begin power restoration, they will start at the New Orleans Power Station then work west towards Jefferson Parish. Estimated restoration times will not be available for a few days. Hamby asks everyone to stay off the roads so crews can get to where they need to be quicker. He also says to steer clear of downed lines, even if they appear to be off. To report downed lines, call 1-800-ENTERGY.

Director of Public Works Mark Drewes said they are working to repair line breaks. He says a majority of the parish should have low water pressure at this point. In order to keep the sewers from backing up, he encourages people to conserve the amount of water they have going down their drains. The parish is also still under a boil advisory.

Sarah Babcock, chief administrative assistant, said four dialysis centers have been opened in Jefferson Parish, and four have been opened in Orleans Parish. In order to find out where you can go, please call your dialysis company’s emergency number.

Babcock said some pharmacies are expected to open Wednesday, and that Fire Station 20 and 81 are distributing oxygen tanks. As of now, the stations have run out of supplies but are expecting a delivery Wednesday.

If you are in need of emergency assistance, you can call the 24/7 crisis line through the Louisiana Department of Health at 1-800-256-2522.

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