Tyana Jackson Data News Weekly Contributor
Over a month after Hurricane Ida, one of the largest tropical cyclone storms to make landfall in Louisiana, residents are still struggling to return to normal. Several issues have frustrated post-storm recovery ranging from delayed trash disposal to lost wages, and damage to homes and businesses, due to the devastating effects of the storm across many parishes in Southeast Louisiana. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said recently that post-storm clean-up and recovery remains a primary focus for her office.
“To date ‘Operation Mardi Gras’ has picked up about 197 loads of trash in about 7 subzones in the City of New Orleans,” Cantrell said at the press conference. “It is my team’s top priority at the moment,” the mayor said.
Cantrell said her office opened up the Elysian Fields Transfer Station for residents to discard their own trash and debris along with their neighbors in an effort to create a short-term solution for trash disposal. Additionally, the city has entered into four new trash contracts to speed up debris collection.
To help residents in Orleans Parish who have received damages to their roofs the Army Corps of Engineers has begun to distribute blue tarps for homes. There are also several grocery distributions in partnership with the Second Harvest Food Bank, Greater New Orleans Foundation, and Topbox to help families in need.
City officials have also been encouraging residents to apply for the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program along with the Transitional Assistance Program to help displaced residents find temporary housing.
Hurricane Ida also devastated Louisiana’s power grid, knocking out electricity to over one million homes and causing some New Orleans residents to be without power for several weeks. Entergy, Louisiana’s energy power company, has restored 932,000 customers and projected that those hard-hit areas like the lower Jefferson Parish area, should have power restored by Sept. 29, 2021.
Britney Burns, a New Orleans native, said that she fled her home as soon as she heard it was going to be a Category 2 storm. “I go when they say it is a 2,” Burns said. “A lot of people are traumatized from Hurricane Katrina so that’s why.”
Burns said that she had hoped for a quicker response for post-storm clean-up across the city.
“We have to deal with all this trash, branches, and trees along the streets,” Burns said.
Her neighbor, Jasmine Jowels, a mother of two, also fled before things got bad. “I do not even know what’s going on,” Jowels added. “We had to throw out all our food and haven’t received any assistance from the city yet.”
The two reside in Gert Town and have been working to manage leaks from their roofs exacerbated by post-storm heavy rains. Burns’ said her car also flooded.
“I would have wanted [the city] to prepare better, with other cities and neighboring states, to help with getting their trash companies to come and get this stuff up,” Burns said.
While most residents are ready to get back to normal, some are very relieved that the effects of the storm were not as severe as Katrina. New Orleans native James Shade, an English Professor at Xavier University of Louisiana said he was grateful the city was finally able to provide relief for residents. He noted that even with all of the issues the city is facing, he is happy to see that officials are still working to fix the post-storm problems, with limited resources.
“I appreciate the fact that the mayor is dealing with the issues as best as she can because she was kind of blind-sided by it as well as the city government,” Shade said.
Residents in Need of Post-Ida Recovery Assistance can Seek Help here:
FEMA Evacuee Lodging Provider List (femaevachotels.com)
The Coalition to Back Black-Owned Businesses Grants:
Black-Owned Business Assistance | Coalition to Back Black Businesses (webackblackbusinesses.com)
Blue Tarp Request:
Blue Roof Information (army.mil)
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