Evacuations have been called for both Grand Isle and Plaquemines Parish south of Belle Chasse as Hurricane Ida moves closer.
With Hurricane Ida’s center aimed directly at Grand Isle, calls for evacuations came Thursday evening, well before other parts of the Louisiana coast began issuing calls for people to get out of the way of the expected Category 3 or 4 storm. “People are packing and leaving right now,” Grand Isle Police Chief Scooter Resweber said Friday morning. “We know this is going to be a big one.” Grand Isle leaders planned to upgrade the voluntary evacuation to a mandatory one on Friday. As of Friday morning, Ida was expected to make landfall late Sunday or early Monday at or near Grand Isle. The storm is expected to bring dangerous storm surge, strong winds and heavy rainfall to much of Louisiana and Mississippi. Up to 20 inches of rain are possible through Monday morning, forecasters said. “I think we’re going to have 90% of our people gone,” Resweber said. “Even the fire department’s pulling out the ambulance service and the big fire trucks.” Three firefighters and a medic plan to stay. Resweber and all eight of his officers plan to remain on the island. “I told them they could all go and take care of their families if they need to,” he said. “Everybody volunteered to stay with me.”nola.com
Now for Plaquemines Parish
Plaquemines Parish has issued a mandatory evacuation for the parish’s entire East Bank and much of the West Bank south of Belle Chasse as Hurricane Ida makes its way toward Louisiana. The evacuation goes into effect at 3 p.m. Friday. “I’m hoping people heed our warning,” Plaquemines Parish President Kirk Lepine said. “We could get 11-foot storm surge in the Myrtle Grove area. If that crosses Highway 23, it’ll close down my main artery and people won’t be able to get out.” The West Bank evacuation area extends from the Alliance Refinery to Venice. A voluntary evacuation was issued from the community of Oakville to refinery. Lepine estimates the evacuation order effects about 6,800 residents, most of whom live on the West Bank in communities that include Port Sulphur, Empire and Buras. “This is a very different storm than the ones we had last year,” said Patrick Harvey, the parish’s emergency preparedness director. He said Hurricane Zeta, a Category 2 storm when it struck the Louisiana coast in October, caused wind damage and minor flooding in Plaquemines. “Ida could be a Category 3 but we’re preparing for a 4,” Harvey said. “We’re worried about surge and that it may slow down and put added rainfall on us.”nola.com
Grand Isle had a bad time next year at the barrier island was hit a number of times.
Last year’s busy storm season was particularly rough one for Grand Isle, a community of about 1,500 people on Louisiana’s only inhabited barrier island. In early June 2020, Cristobal, a relatively weak tropical storm, managed to damage nearly 2,000 feet of the island’s storm surge levee, a structure mostly made of sand that was built in 2014. Waves cut through about 85 feet of sand to reach the levee’s core, a wrapped tube of clay known as the “burrito.” Repairs were delayed, raising resident’s anxiety as more storms hammered the coast. Hurricane Zeta, the fifth named storm to strike Louisiana last year, made a direct hit on Grand Isle, and blasted through the damaged levee. In at least seven spots, the strong storm’s waves pushed beach sand and sandbags, piled on the levee during other storms, more than 500 feet. Wind also ripped off roofs and toppled utility poles. The levee was repaired, and a 200-foot-wide beach was added as a buffer, in June. Grand Isle’s leaders worry that Ida may be worse than anything they experienced last year. “People have been talking about this at the stores and restaurants for days,” Resweber said. “They know it’s nothing to play with.”
Plaquemines Parish is setting up shelters and setting up pickup points at a number of sites.
The parish is opening an emergency shelter in West Monroe. Residents seeking shelter will be taken by school buses starting at 7 a.m. Saturday from these pickup locations: Port Sulphur Government Building, Boothville Elementary School, Buras Auditorium and Percy Griffin Community Center. Masks are required on the bus and at the shelter to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The parish has opened sandbag locations at the following locations: Plaquemines Parish Government Complex, PROWM Building (333 F. Edward Hebert Blvd, Belle Chasse, LA 70037), Port Sulphur YMCA, 278 Civic Dr, Port Sulphur, LA 70083, Buras YMCA, 36342 Hwy 11, Buras, LA 70041, Boothville Area across from Boothville-Venice Elementary School,Davant Community Center, 15577 Hwy 15, Braithwaite, LA 70040 and Braithwaite Auditorium, 1253 LA-39, Braithwaite, LA 70040. Residents should bring their own shovels and only take 10 bags. Bags will be provided.
New Orleans is also evacuating those outside the levee system.
Let us all be safe and dry.