It’s been 2 weeks since Hurricane Ida struck the Louisiana shoreline. The Category 4 storm left chunks of Louisiana, including New Orleans, without power before climbing the country spewing tornadoes and mass flooding. Some continue to wait for power but most of the state has been restored. The French Quarter and some other neighborhoods have internet, cable and landline access. The city is slowly coming back but problems persist.
Trash collection has resumed but is spotty at best. Same with the mail. Many traffic lights only blink red or yellow. Others still don’t work at all. The long lines for gas have dissipated. Roofs and windows are being repaired.
Food continues to be a problem. Very few restaurants have reopened for dining or takeout. Many don’t have staff in town yet, most have noticed there’s no tourists here to justify opening yet. Almost no retail shops are open. There are some grocery stores but they have long lines and limited stock. Since we all cleaned out our refrigerators, there’s not a box of baking soda left in this city. And many stores close by 5 or 6pm, making it difficult for people with office hours to get there in time.
And there’s very little work for many of our residents. New Orleans has a tourism-based economy that has suffered 4 waves of COVID and the accompanying blows to travel and gathering. The hurricanes aftereffects will be felt for months as we struggle to repair buildings and infrastructure. COVID had already canceled Jazz Fest and French Quarter Fest’s fall rescheduling so the city’s offerings were already lacking for events before the storm hit.
As I said last week, if you’re looking to help people in the region, I recommend donating to Second Harvest which focuses on distributing food. If you’d like to directly help a friend or family member, find out what grocery stores they frequent and send them gift cards. New Orleanians are going to need help recovering and appreciate any efforts made on our behalf.