HOUMA, La. (KLFY) — Houma was one of the first cities to face the full strength of Hurricane Ida. Conditions are improving each day for the capital of Terrebonne Parish, but the road to recovery will be a long and difficult one.
Hurricane Ida devastated the city of Houma. Places that were not damaged in 50 years are now crippled from the category 4 storm, and officials are warning people about what they may come back to.
“You can smell the odor of mildew already,” Randy Keiser said as he entered his Church’s building. Though the church is empty, there’s no shortage of prayers.
Keiser has weathered five decades of hurricanes, but says, “This storm is stronger than any other that’s ever come this way.”
The damaged, leaking roof of the Hollywood Road Church of Christ is a problem nearly everyone in Houma can relate with. Some homes and businesses are left with far less.
“It’s a tough situation, but we’re working on it,” explained Terrebonne Parish Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Public Information Officer Mart Black.
The Terrebonne Parish EOC is doing its best to restore what people need. Wednesday, cell service became stable for most citizens. Tuesday, the water became available for those unaffected by widespread leaks. By Thursday, ice, food, and tarp distribution sites are expected to open in multiple locations.
Black stated, “If you want to come back into Terrebonne, please do so. Just understand that the situation is a little dire.”
Keiser said most of his Church’s members evacuated, and without electricity or any open hospitals nearby, he’s evacuating the rest of his family now too, including his 94-year-old mother-in-law.
“They really have no reason to come back here right now until there’s electricity until they are sure about the water,” Keiser argued.
With the damage to the building, it will not allow the Church to be a base of operations relief groups as its been before for Katrina and Gustav. Despite the hardships, Keiser and many others still feel blessed.
“The levies kept us all high and dry and that is a plus. I mean there are a lot of plusses. You tend to get rolling on the negatives, but there are a lot of positives. I’m alive. My family is alive. It could have been worse. No matter how bad it is, it could have been worse,” Keiser concluded.
Black said it may take five to ten weeks for everywhere to get their power restored, but some energy providers are telling their customers three weeks.
People returning home may help cut down on looting. Black added many looters are being arrested, given one-million-dollar bonds, and sent to the St. Mary Parish jail.