Drone footage captured the utter devastation left behind by Hurricane Ida in Lafourche Parish, just south of New Orleans, where evacuated residents were told they could return Tuesday, officials said. They’ll need to show proof of residency to pass through checkpoints and then have to obey a 7 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew, Lafourche Parish announced.
While residents are being let back in, they are being told to approach with caution. “Please know there is no clean water access from Raceland to the South Lafourche area,” the parish warned in a statement. “There is no power in the parish, and it will not be restored for some time. Nearly all communication is down, including cellphone service parish-wide. Your home may be severely damaged and uninhabitable. We do not have access to food at this time due to the amount of damage to stores, so please bring all supplies you need to self-sustain while you are here.”
Returning locals might not recognize the homes and businesses they left behind before Ida roared through their community on Sunday. Drone footage showed trees snapped like twigs, power poles bent at severe angles, washed out highways, submerged cars, and even a powerboat in the middle of the road. Some commercial structures — with roofs and support beams still standing — had their interiors completely gutted by the storm.
#BREAKING: Tropical Depression 12 has formed just off the African coast in the Atlantic. It is expected to strengthen into a Category 2 #hurricane this weekend. No Caribbean or U.S. impacts are expected at this time, but it must be monitored closely for any changes. pic.twitter.com/VxmyM0PJkA
— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) August 31, 2021
Ida made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane early Sunday afternoon with 150 mph winds. More than 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana remained without power for a second day Tuesday.
#Ida will team up with a stalled front to produce a dangerous flood threat and a few tornadoes in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast heading into Wednesday. The latest forecast: https://t.co/miBkiRwnG8 pic.twitter.com/yTYoBBJwhJ
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) August 31, 2021
Lafourche Parish President Archie Chaisson said water services are slowing coming back online but noted it “will be months before we get power back on to the deep southern part of” his community. He called Hurricane Ida a “catastrophic event” and said the community would be recovering and rebuilding, but “This was a parish-wide event and something that we’re going to be feeling the effects from for some time.”