Louisiana Coastal Parishes Damage Assessment
by Wilma Subra
A convoy of 40 electrical repair trucks loaded with equipment, were encountered on the highway headed to the worse damaged areas. Crossings the Atchafalaya River in Morgan City, the river banks were lined with shrimp boats and oil service vessels decorated for the blessing of the fleet associated with the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival.
The highways and roads in the swampy areas were fringed with standing water lapping at the roads and covering the shoulders and sometimes the roads themselves.Homes and businesses damaged by flood waters and wind, and lacking electrical power lined the highway. The sugar cane crop was twisted, bent and flattened.
Homes not elevated, sustained flooding. Flood waters were still present on the roads and covering the land. Tidal surges impacted boats, piers and boat houses which are critical to the livelihood of the citizens living in this area. Wind damage occurred to homes, businesses and trees. Electrical crews worked in the area to restore electrical service.Homeowners worked to clean up their property and secure damaged homes and businesses.
Wild turkeys feasted on organisms deposited by the storm surge in the area of Combon Bridge.
Power Lines Damaged
Flooding in Terrebonne Parish
Between Klondyke and Montegut, the sugar cane crop was severely impacted.Shore birds, in large numbers, feasted on organisms in Bayou Terrebonne.
Large quantities of structural damage occurred to homes, due to wind and water. Tree damage was severe.Water covered roads, yards and business establishments. Electrical repair crews worked in the area. Electrical power had not yet been restored to the area.
Boats, boat docks and businesses along Bayou Pointe-aux-Chenes were severely damaged by the tidal surge and wind.Boats were spread across the landscape and on the roadways.
Boat on Road Way in Pointe-aux Chenes
A Red Cross Disaster Relief van providing lunches to citizens of Pointe-aux-Chenes. As the word spread in the community, people flocked to the van for a hot meal.
Red Cross Disaster Relief Van Serving Lunch
Tree damage was severe. Homes and businesses were damage by flood waters, wind and fallen trees. Roads still had standing water and tree debris.Sugar cane crops were damaged. Electrical lines and utility poles were down throughout the area. No electrical repair crews were in sight.
Home in Grand Boise Damaged by Fallen Tree
Wind damaged trees impacted the fencing along the U S Liquids Oil Field Waste Landfarm facility. LA 24 between Grand Boise and Larose was littered with fallen tree debris and flood waters.
Highway 90 between Gray and Raceland was littered with downed tree debris. The LA Department of Transportation was cleaning up debris along highway. Standing water was still present on portions of the highway.Entrance and exits ramps were closed due to standing water.
St. Charles Parish
Houses and businesses flooded due to back water flooding and were damaged by high winds. Tree damage was severe. Electrical power was not yet restored. Businesses were closed due to lack of electrical power. Highway and other access roads were flooded. Severe traffic congestion occurred due to the lack of operational traffic signals.
Paradise gas processing plant was not operational due to offshore gas production being shut in and crews evacuated in anticipation of Hurricane Isaac.
Jean Lafitte, Lafitte, Barataria, Crown Point
A large number of houses were flooded. These houses were not elevated after Hurricanes Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Ivan in 2008 severely flooded and damaged the area. Some elevated structures also were flooded by the storm surge associated with Hurricane Isaac. Many households loss all of the contents of their homes and the home structures were severely damaged by the flood waters.
Flooded Home in Jean Lafitte
Large quantities of flood waters continued to cover the area, roads, buildings and surrounding land. Many roads were blocked off due to flood conditions, thus limiting the access of community members to return to their homes. A command center was established on Highway 3134, limiting those entering the area.
Road Closed By Flooding in the Jean Lafitte Area
Wind damage to homes, businesses and other structures in the area was severe. The wind also caused the loss of a large number of trees through out the area and damaged structures due to trees falling on structures.
Fishing boats and dock structures in the area, as well as seafood processing plants, were severely damaged by the flood waters, storm surge, and wind. These are the things that the community depends on to earn a living.
A response center was established on the grounds of the Jean Lafitte City Hall complex and St. Anthony Catholic Church across the street from city hall.The City Hall building sustained roof damage and was covered with a blue tarp.Individuals were patiently waiting their turn in line to receive needed supplies.
A sign on a home along LA 45 in Jean Lafitte stated “Where is our levee protection.”
The Oakville community, on the west bank of the Mississippi River below Belle Chase, was severely flooded and damaged by Hurricane Katrina. After Hurricane Katrina, a flood wall was constructed and a pump system installed to lessen future potential flooding. The protective system did not work to protect Oakville. The community was flooded and all structures, but a few structures on piers,were flooded again. The pump system was not activated in time to prevent the community from flooding.
A number of homes in the community also sustained wind damage to roofs and outside structures. A large number of trees were destroyed by the wind and fell on structures and graves in the grave yard of the community. Some of the graves sustained severe damage.
Tree in Grave Yard in Oakville
Community members were removing household belongings destroyed by the flood water and attempting to save a few belongings. The electricity was still out in the community and electrical crews worked on restoring the wiring and poles along Highway 23.
Highway 23 remains closed down river just below Oakville, due to severe flooding. The communities from this point down river to the mouth of the Mississippi River sustained severe flooding and wind damage due to Hurricane Isaac.
Utility Crews Working in Belle Chase
St. Bernard Parish
Water continues to stand on the roadways and land throughout the area of St. Bernard Parish on the east bank of the Mississippi River. Homes, not elevated, were flooded. Many homes sustained roof damage as well as tree damage.
In Meraux, the area impacted by the Murphy Refinery Storage Tank Spill, as a result of Hurricane Katrina, was partially relocated. The relocated area contained broken utility poles and fallen transformers. The portion not relocated sustained roof damage due to the winds.
Broken Utility Pole In The Area That Was Relocated In Meraux
The utility repair crews had established a large staging area in Violet. The communities of Violet and Poydras sustained severe wind and flood water damage. Blue tarps covered roof damage.
Just down river from Poydras, just south of the St. Bernard State Park, Highway 39 was blocked off due to severe flooding in the community of Braithwaite. A levee on the back side of the community failed or was over topped and allowed flood waters to inundate the community. From this point down river to the mouth of the Mississippi River, communities experienced severe flooding as well as wind damage.
Chef Menteur Pass
The area of Chef Menteur Pass north east of New Orleans sustained substantial water and wind damage. Water still remained over the road and the road was closed.Wetland vegetation was swept from the surrounding marshes and deposited in large quantities on the roadways and surfaces in the area. Structures sustained severe wind damage.
Venetian Isles/Irish Bend
The homes and business structures in Venetian Isle and Irish Bend sustained major structural damage from the hurricane force winds and storm surge. Blue tarps covered many of the structures. The road ways in the area were still flooded.Access to the area was very limited.
Young People Boating On The Flooded Roadside
End of the Day
The sun set over Lake Pontchartrain was a beautiful pink display. Many electrical utility vehicles headed to their staging areas for the night. Large urban areas in the greater New Orleans area were very dark due to the absence of electrical service. It brought back memories of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Many rural areas along the path home were without electricity. The moon rose in the night sky and provided a faint bit of light.
As Morgan City came into view, a large fireworks display lit up the night sky. This was the fireworks event over the Atchafalaya River that was a part of the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival. It brought light to a very dark trip to assess damages due to Hurricane Isaac.