Flooding, Outages Still Plague Region
by Katy Reckdahl - Times-Picayune (excerpt)
Things were slowly returning to normal Sunday in southeastern Louisiana after two days of flooding caused by Hurricane Ike, but problems persisted.
On Sunday, St. Bernard Parish was still mopping up the flooded eastern end of the parish, a low-lying area where water reached heights of 2 to 6 feet, Parish President Craig Taffaro said. But by midafternoon, most roads were passable by truck, at the very least, and the parish was allowing residents with valid identification to return, he said.
Fearing high storm surges in the wake of Ike, St. Bernard officials had issued a recommendation that anyone living outside the hurricane-protection system should evacuate. Taffaro said only two residents bucked that suggestion, and parish officials kept an eye on them. Both survived, he said.
About 120 people have been rescued from flooded areas of Jefferson Parish, and 170 Grand Isle residents who stayed behind had been located and "were OK," said Veronica Mosgrove, spokeswoman for the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
Grand Isle faces a "massive cleanup but not much structural damage," said Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts, who represents the area. The island had not yet finished clearing debris from Hurricane Gustav when Ike struck, and so the Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies, firefighters, contractors, and public works staff will return today to "pick up on work left from Gustav," he said.
"We had more homes and businesses flooded in Lafitte than in Grand Isle," Roberts said; most buildings in Grand Isle were already elevated.
Although the flood was starting to subside, areas were still under 6 or 7 feet of water, making some homes inaccessible to Sunday's returning residents, Roberts said.