In the Wake of Hurricane Ida: No Power, No Water, No 911

September 1, 2021Noelle Wiehe
hurricane Ida wake

A damage assessment team from Federal Emergency Management Agency Texas Task Force 1 found survivors, including the four-legged kind, in the wake of Hurricane Ida, seeking to cool off with no electricity in Houma, Louisiana, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. Photo courtesy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

THIBODAUX, La. Two days after Hurricane Ida sawed through southern Louisiana, downed power lines drape Lafourche Parish.

Upturned trees clog roadways. Gas stations pump no fuel. Winds whip at tarps that replaced roofs ripped away Sunday, Aug. 29, by 154 mph gusts.

In the sweltering and surreal aftermath of the most powerful cyclone to hit the Pelican State in a half-century, kids can be seen wading in above-ground pools only a rock-skip from metal carports crumpled like discarded napkins.

Serenaded by the constant song of chainsaws, local, state, and federal first responders are toiling to restore services, deter looters, and rebuild shattered neighborhoods.

US Border Patrol agents from the Lake Charles Station clear downed trees from a residence Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in the wake of Hurricane Ida. Photo by Glenn Fawcett, courtesy of US Customs and Border Protection.

On Monday afternoon in Thibodaux, barefooted Lafourche Emergency Preparedness director Chris Boudreaux and his team began setting up a field headquarters in a Walmart parking lot.

He said he’d slept six hours since Ida made landfall before noon Sunday at Port Fourchon, 71 miles southeast of this city of about 15,000 people along the banks of Bayou Lafourche.

“A lot of things started going out in that time,” Boudreaux told Coffee or Die Magazine.

Power and 911 emergency calls and cell towers went first, but some communities also lack clean drinking water.

hurricane Ida wake coffee or die
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, there’s no place to get fuel. Storm damage blasted this station in Lockport Heights, Louisiana, and power was cut to nearly 1 million Louisiana customers. Photo by Noelle Wiehe/Coffee or Die Magazine.

Patrol officers park at highway ramps to urge motorists to avoid debris-strewn roads. A curfew issued a dozen hours before the hurricane arrived remains in effect.

Taking a turn down the wrong road or staying too long near a rising bayou can turn deadly.

About 40 miles northeast of Thibodaux in St. John the Baptist Parish, the Louisiana State Urban Search and Rescue Task Force has taken 500 people to safety since Lake Pontchartrain spilled its banks Sunday, officials said.

Although Thibodaux was spared from flash floods, no one knows when the thousands of evacuated residents will be invited back to their homes. 

hurricane Ida wake coffee or die
Central Lafourche High School in Raceland, Louisiana, remains shuttered in the wake of Hurricane Ida. Photo by Noelle Wiehe/Coffee or Die Magazine.

Firefighters and other first responders continue to file damage assessments and clear clogged roadways.

“It’s just taking time; there is a lot of damage,” Boudreaux said. “I wouldn’t even want to guess.” 

Utility giant Entergy reported Tuesday that crews had restored electricity to about 64,000 Louisiana homes and businesses. But that’s only 7% of the customers who were without power, leaving another 840,000 waiting for juice.

Hurricane damage to eight high-voltage lines cut power for New Orleans, plus Jefferson, St. Bernard, and Plaquemines parishes.

hurricane Ida wake
Flyover photos released by the Louisiana National Guard and Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, revealed the widespread devastation left in Hurricane Ida’s wake. Photo courtesy of the Louisiana National Guard.

Portions of St. Charles and Terrebonne parishes will also be in the dark Tuesday night, officials said.

Now downgraded to a tropical depression, Ida continues to trundle northeast across the Tennessee Valley toward the central Appalachian Mountains.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami predict Ida will enter the mid-Atlantic states Wednesday to merge with a frontal zone. 

The cyclone will then move north, settling just south of New York’s Long Island.

The storm is expected to dump up to 8 inches of rain on portions of West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey this week.

Read Next: ‘The Good Ones Stand Up Front’: Remembering Lance Cpl. Rylee McCollum

Noelle Wiehe
Noelle Wiehe

Noelle is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die through a fellowship from Military Veterans in Journalism. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and interned with the US Army Cadet Command. Noelle also worked as a civilian journalist covering several units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment on Fort Benning, before she joined the military as a public affairs specialist.

More from Coffee or Die Magazine
Coffee Or Die Photo
From the Team Room to Team Room Design: An Operator’s Creative Journey

BRCC partners with Team Room Design for an exclusive T-shirt release!

Coffee Or Die Photo
Get Your Viking On: The Exclusive 30 Sec Out BRCC Shirt Club Design

Thirty Seconds Out has partnered with BRCC for an exclusive shirt design invoking the God of Winter.

Grizzly Forge BRCC shirt
Limited Edition: Grizzly Forge Blades on an Awesome BRCC Shirt

Lucas O'Hara of Grizzly Forge has teamed up with BRCC for a badass, exclusive Shirt Club T-shirt design featuring his most popular knife and tiomahawk.

BRCC Limited Edition Josh Raulerson Blackbeard Skull Shirt
From Naval Service to Creative Canvas: BRCC Veteran Artist Josh Raulerson

Coffee or Die sits down with one of the graphic designers behind Black Rifle Coffee's signature look and vibe.

Medal of Honor is held up.
Biden Will Award Medal of Honor to Army Helicopter Pilot Who Rescued Soldiers in Vietnam Firefight

Biden will award the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam War Army helicopter pilot who risked his life to save a reconnaissance team from almost certain death.

dear jack mandaville
Dear Jack: Which Historic Battle Would You Want To Witness?

Ever wonder how much Jack Mandaville would f*ck sh*t up if he went back in time? The American Revolution didn't even see him coming.

west point time capsule
West Point Time Capsule Yields Centuries-Old Coins

A nearly 200-year-old West Point time capsule that at first appeared to yield little more than dust contains hidden treasure, the US Military Academy said.

  • About Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Careers
Contact Us
Contact Us
© 2024 Coffee or Die Magazine. All Rights Reserved