BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) – Gov. John Bel Edwards gave an update Wednesday on the state’s recovery efforts after touring storm damage in Jefferson and Orleans parishes – two of the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Ida.
Edwards, alongside fellow state and parish officials, held a press conference after his visit to assess storm damage in Jefferson and Orleans parishes.
Before the briefing, Edwards flew over Jefferson Parish to view the extent of the storm damage. And while many areas are devastated, the governor said Louisiana is blessed as the levees held up against Hurricane Ida.
He urged storm survivors to apply for disaster assistance at disasterassistance.gov. Federal funding will be available to storm survivors in the following parishes: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge, and West Feliciana.
Federal assistance will be available to individuals and businesses affected by the storm.
Edwards believes that steady progress will be made in Louisiana’s recovery efforts. Areas of the state that were left without power and now slowly being restored. Edwards said more than 11,000 homes and businesses had power restored in the state as of Wednesday.
“Now, we were over a million, I’m mindful that it’s a start,” Edwards said.
Edwards wants Louisianans to understand that repairs will take time after a hurricane as strong as Ida.
The governor announced the Blue Roof Program, a program managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to get homes back into livable conditions. Thirteen parishes are eligible for the program, including: Ascension, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Terrebonne.
To sign up for this program, individuals can call 1-888-766-3258 or visit blueroof.us.
As for water outages, 212 systems are out, impacting more than 600,000 people. The governor said there are 95 boil water advisories in place statewide.
A number of roadways remain closed due to storm debris, however, all interstates are open. Closures can be monitored at 511la.org.
Edwards said there are 17 Points of Distribution Sites available to individuals affected by the storm. The Louisiana National Guard is supporting these sites in the following parishes:
- Three sites in Lafourche
- Three sites in Tangipahoa
- Two sites in St James
- Two sites in Orleans
- Two sites in St John
- Two sites in St Charles
- Two sites in Jefferson
- One site in Plaquemines
State officials are working on solving the fuel crisis that is developing across the state.
“The fuel problem is significant,” said Edwards. Several parishes have suffered from fuel shortages as the state begins recovery.
Sen. Bill Cassidy says he wants to use money from the infrastructure bill to help improve Louisiana by repairing roadways, bridges, internet broadband. He also wants to look ahead and fortify Louisiana in anticipation of another powerful hurricane.
State officials will be working to get the federal assistance needed to recover not just for those affected by Hurricane Ida but those that were affected by Hurricane Laura last year.
“I have every expectation, there is no excuse for why it’s a year later and we don’t have it for southwest Louisiana,” said Edwards. “But we know the nation is focused on Louisiana right now for Ida and we’re going to take advantage of that.”
Gov. Edwards also gave an update Wednesday on COVID-19 and announced the extension of the statewide mask mandate until September 29. It was originally slated to expire on Wednesday. Since Aug. 27, the Louisiana Department of Health has reported 12,380 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total of cases to 692,176.