by Kevin Allman
Some Web sites to check before you get back on the road (and note that Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Charles, St. Tammany and St. Bernard Parishes are all closed until at least Wednesday):
- Louisiana official emergency Web site: Lots of information about parish openings, highway closings, curfews, state government office status reports, etc.
- Louisiana Department of Transportation: Interactive maps with road closings, alerts, lane closures, etc. Pretty detailed information.
- City of New Orleans: Not the most current info, but worth checking.
Over 120,000 Entergy customers lost electricity and tours of the parish by Parish President Aaron Broussard, Parish Council members and parish work crews revealed the extent of damage. Power lines and poles are down, some blocking streets, and many traffic signals are down and blocking some intersections. Trees are toppled and many tree limbs and other debris are obstacles on roadways and some billboards were shredded by the storm.
Although a number of fences were pushed over by high winds and there was some damage to metal structures such as carports and storage sheds, most residences and businesses were spared major damage and there were no reports of street or structure flooding outside of the communities of Grand Isle and Lafitte.
The parish is working with surrounding parishes and the State of Louisiana on re-entry but the parish remains under a mandatory evacuation order and residents will not be allowed to return tomorrow, Tuesday, September 2.
Parish public schools will remain closed this week and Archdiocesan school officials said they will concur with the civil authorities regarding reopening of Jefferson Parish parochial schools, which will also remain closed through the end of this week. An announcement regarding all phases of re-entry will be made tomorrow so that all citizens and businesses can return to the parish this week.
With the passing of major winds today, Kenner city officials have turned their attention to serving curious residents.
The city's emergency command center opened three new phone lines to handle the inundation of phone calls. If residents cannot get through using 504.468.7200 or 504.468.HELP, they can use 504.712.2399, 504.712.2333, or 504.712.2334.
Authorities are keeping an eye on Kenner's sewerage, drainage and levee systems, but so far no flooding has been reported, authorities said. Power is still out in most of the city and the mandatory evacuation remains in effect. No word on when residents can plan on returning to their homes.