Tenants in apartment buildings are forced to evacuate because of Ida's ravages

Allison Smith didn't think about where she would go next. The boxes had been kept by Allison Smith since she moved into her Chateau Creole apartment in a 2-bedroom apartment. She was going to load them up with her clothes, other belongings, and then drive the U-Haul to the nearest storage unit. It was two hours away. She would then start to think about where she wanted to live.

Tenants in apartment buildings are forced to evacuate because of Ida's ravages

Smith said, "I haven’t even thought that far," as she packed with her boyfriend.

Residents of the apartment building loaded up moving trucks and began to think about what they would do after Hurricane Ida caused their home to become unlivable. Many people didn't have many options.

Ida swept ashore Aug. 29 and Houma, a town of about 33,000 residents, was the first major population center in its path. Power isn't expected to be restored to the parish until Sept. 29, and that's only for homes and businesses structurally sound enough to take power. Many people aren't.

The apartment complex had shingles all over the parking lot and pink tufts insulation sticking to its exterior walls. Large sections of siding had been removed from some buildings. Some buildings had lost large sections of their roof decking, and the rain soaked the pink insulation below.

Smith was in her apartment's bedroom -- K26 -- recording the storm as it passed. Her ceiling fell on top of Smith when the storm hit. You can now see the frame of the building and blue sky from the bedroom's carpeted floor. She spent the night in her bedroom, removing mosquitoes. She is now afraid that another storm could come and destroy what she has left.

She filed a claim with Federal Emergency Management Agency. They've given her enough money for a week to cover the cost of a hotel. Then she'll decide what her next steps are.

She said, "I'm mentally exhausted, just exhausted."

Jordan Howard and his boyfriend, who had just returned from Texas, were staying at apartment M22. Although they had been informed about the damage to the complex and were advised that they would have to move out via other tenants on Facebook, they found their apartment had survived without any major damage.

After completing an initial survey, they planned to return with a moving truck and pack up their belongings before starting over. Howard was a front desk clerk in a hotel before the storm. However, he said that it was now closed. They are weighing whether to stay in Houma, where Howard is from, or move somewhere else with electricity. He thought it was a difficult decision considering the extent of the damage in Houma.

He said, "So many people will have to leave, but I don't believe a lot of them will come back."

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