Energy company: The restoration of Hurricane Ida could take several weeks

The head of Entergy Louisiana said Saturday that full restoration of electricity in some of the most severely affected areas of Louisiana could take up to the end of the month.

Energy company: The restoration of Hurricane Ida could take several weeks

The storms in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama caused at least 16 deaths.

Ida destroyed or damaged more than 22,000 power poles. This is more than the combined impact of hurricanes Katrina and Zeta. Phillip May, President and CEO of Entergy, called it "staggering." Nearly 26,000 wire spans (the length of transmission wire between poles) were also down.

May, one of the five parishes in southeastern Louisiana facing the longest delays, stated that "the level of devastation makes obtaining access and fully assessing some places difficult or nearly impossible." The company estimates that full power restoration will be completed by September 29 for most customers, but may take longer for others.

Entergy New Orleans CEO Deanna Rodriguez stated that nearly a quarter of New Orleans residents are now able to turn off their power. This includes all city hospitals and 27 substations. Entergy stated that most customers should have their power restored by Wednesday.

Terrebonne is one of the parishes experiencing long delays in power restoration. Volunteers from the parish seat of Houma gave ice, water, and meals Saturday to storm victims. Houma lies approximately 55 miles (90 km) southwest of New Orleans.

Kendall Duthu, 26, of Dulac was one of those in need. She collected red beans and rice for the container, then pulled over an Infiniti with cracked windshield to eat.

Duthu and his girlfriend have been living in their car since the storm. Before the pandemic, Duthu was a chef at a jambalaya restaurant. He then became a car washer until that job disappeared. Duthu, who is a diabetic lost his home in the storms and doesn't know where it will go next.

He said, trailing off, "Next stop, ..."," "We just have been living day to day."

According to CEO John Hairston, Houma's Hancock Whitney Bank has distributed water and approximately 42,000 meals since Tuesday.

He said that hurricanes are a normal part of human life. Buildings are temporary. It may be on another block. We'll still be there next storm."

South of Houma, there were splintered trees and swamped furniture, as well as the debris of homes littering the roadsides. Rene Gregoire Jr., 27, stood in Ashland, Louisiana outside his home, where windows were blown out and water gushed in. After injuring his wrist while working on tugboats, Rene Gregoire Jr. suffered another setback. He also contracted COVID-19 and had to have a $3,000 operation for his dog.

Gregoire, who is contemplating moving to Arizona with his girlfriend, said that "it's my home but it's mine"

Harry Bonvillain, a south-facing resident of Bayou Grand Caillou, surveyed the damage to his house, which was built on concrete pillars. It is now surrounded with a maze made up of broken staircases, splintered lumber, and other debris.

Bonvillain lost a lot of his possessions, mildew covered his clothes, and ants took over the house. Bonvillain, 58, wondered why so many people don't care more about smaller communities such as his.

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