Residents begin rebuilding, helping neighbors in Hurricane Ida aftermath


COVINGTON, LA – AUGUST 31: A woman walks to her vehicle damaged by a fallen tree on August 31, 2021 in Covington, Louisiana. Tropical Storm Ida made landfall as a category 4 hurricane Sunday in Louisiana and brought flooding and wind damage along the Gulf Coast. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WGNO) — Kenny Martinez has lived in Destrehan, Louisiana for 28 years and he says he’s never seen a storm like Hurricane Ida.

“We’ve been through a lot, I mean all the storms that we’ve been through, Katrina I didn’t even — I was missing like two or three shingles and we did really good. But this one’s bad,” said Martinez.

PONCHATOULA, LA – AUGUST 31: People clean up a flooded home on August 31, 2021 in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. Tropical Storm Ida made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane Sunday in Louisiana and brought flooding and wind damage along the Gulf Coast. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

The damage is evident throughout the subdivison. Trees ripped by the root, thrown on top of houses. Debris is all across the yards and streets. The usually pleasant neighborhood is now in complete disarray.

“I was prepared to see a lot of damage but I was really disheartened to see the amount of damage through the whole neighborhood,” said Phil Blanchard, who also lives in Ormond Estates.

St. Charles Parish officials told residents not to expect power for at least a month, leaving locals in distress about the next few weeks.

“I have a disabled son who’s on life support so power is critical for me, and I mean I have a generator running now, but I’m not going to trust his life to it,” said Martinez.

St. Charles Parish officials are urging residents to stay off the roads and levees as the cleanup process begins. The parish is working to restore water to the east bank and garbage services are suspended for the next five to seven days. The sheriff has also issued a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. until further notice.

Residents are also continuing to do their best to help those in their own communities.

Keith Adams, a Louisiana resident feeding his neighbors despite damage to his own home.

Keith Adams, a seafood restaurant owner, set up boiling pots and other cookers in the cul-de-sac where he lives to feed residents.

“My restaurant, obviously with the storm, is closed, and I was going to lose everything in the freezer,” Adams said. “So I decided to give back to the community.”

Gumbo, seafood au gratin, even desserts were all free for the taking.

Like virtually every neighborhood in Saint Tammany Parish, people in his area have had no electricity since Hurricane Ida struck. Along with the power outage, many of them are also dealing with tree damage.

As people gathered at the serving table Adams placed beside his cookers, workers were removing a stack of fallen trees that damaged his home.

Adams said he was simply returning the favor for the help of others after the storm.

“I’ve had my neighbors coming all day to help,” Adams said. “Thank God for them.”

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