Louisiana’s Hardest-Hit Areas Need Greater Storm Protection, Officials Say

Photo: Getty Images

A week after Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana and Mississippi, clean up continues and some officials are looking to prevent more catastrophic damage in the state’s hardest-hit areas. 

“We have got to fundamentally change the way in which we are thinking about protecting those areas, particularly Grand Isle,” Chip Kline, Executive Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Activities, told CNN. “Sand dunes on the Gulf side of the island and segmented breakwaters are not going to cut it.” 

“So we’re going to be working with the Corps of Engineers and our congressional delegation to look at new strategies on how we can provide better protection, more resilient protection, and strengthen structures around Grand Isle and Lafitte,” Kline added. After Hurricane Katrina Kline says the US government invested $14 billion to the Greater New Orleans area that helped prevent major flooding like what was seen in 2005.

President Joe Biden's infrastructure agenda item may be that same type of investment after Hurricane Ida ripped through Louisiana's last remaining inhabited barrier island.

Photo: Getty Images

Grand Isle acts as a barrier at the southern tip of the state. It was wrecked by Hurricane Ida’s over 100 mph winds, rain downfall and storm surge. An estimated 40 to 50% of the houses on the isle are gone, officials said. 

 “I’ve never seen it look like this,” Bryan Adams, director of Jefferson Parish Fire Services, told the news organization. “It’s decimated.” 

While the state’s Hurricane Risk Reduction System -- funded after Katrina -- provided some form of protection to other areas, the same could not be said for the isle. 

“I want the people of Lafitte and Grand Isle to know that this governor and the state’s coastal program are not going to forget about those areas,” Kline said.

Relief efforts throughout the country continued after Ida and its remnants traveled over 1,000 miles and slammed the Northeast. Dozens of people have been reported dead across several states as crews work to survey damage and assist survivors in need. 

Some areas of Louisiana remain without power after Ida toppled a major electrical tower into the Mississippi river. Officials estimated power could be back on for most customers before the end of the month, but food and gas shortages continue to plague survivors. 

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