Grand Isle view show the tremendous force of nature two days after Hurricane Ida struck the Louisiana shore with destructive winds of 150 mph with much higher gusts.
Following one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever hit the United States, the only path into the coastal hamlet is along a hazardous stretch of Highway 1 that many did not dare to cross.
A search-and-rescue caravan was able to reach the Jefferson Parish community by road, but 10 to 12 levee breaks on the Gulf of Mexico side of the island damaged 100% of homes and other structures, with nearly 40% of them completely destroyed or nearly destroyed, according to parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng.
Sheng added that the island, which is roughly 111 miles south of New Orleans, was also buried under around three feet of sand.
According to The Associated Press, Grand Isle police Chief Scooter Resweber said he and other officers waited out the hurricane inside the town’s police station.
“I had all the police officers move into the building for safety and then all hell broke loose,” Resweber told the Associated Press.
“Roofs began to fall apart. Across the street, we could see buildings crashing to the ground. It’s something you simply don’t want to witness again.” — Police Chief Scooter Resweber of Grand Isle, Louisiana.
He said that even the police station had been threatened.
“When the roof started to come apart and the building trembled, we all got scared. “We’re grown men but you do have fear in you, no matter what job you’re in, and we felt it.”
The chief described it as the most powerful hurricane he had ever seen.
“I’ve ridden out other hurricanes—Hurricane Isaac, Katrina, Gustav, Ike—and this is no comparison whatsoever,” adding “This is the worst. … It’s just amazing that no one (here) was killed or even seriously injured.”
According to WWL-TV in New Orleans, the village of Lafitte in Jefferson Parish, which is located along the Gulf coast in the New Orleans area, had several homes swamped by water, but workers were able to rescue 15 people.
Given the significant devastation, Sheng encouraged everyone who had fled the region not to return quite yet.
According to WWL, Sheng remarked, “These are not conditions to be living in.”
For those who stayed in their houses, she added, drinking water and ice distribution stations were being put up.
She told reporters that trash pickup would not begin until Monday, owing to road and traffic-signal conditions.