The fallout and recovery from Hurricane Ida in southeast Louisiana are far from over. Tarps still cover rooftops, and toppled electrical poles litter the roadside and nearly 40,000 were still without power as of Friday evening in the suburb of Destrehan, just half an hour west of the New Orleans city center. Every day repairs are delayed, they become more difficult as mold fueled by heat and leaky roofs continues to spread — and by the way, the trash hasn’t been picked up since before the storm. Fewer than half the schools in Terrebonne Parish have power and without electricity, school officials haven’t even been able to assess the damage, let alone set a timeline for reopening. Long-term power outages are becoming an increasingly frequent impact of storms like Ida. Climate change, caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels, is making hurricanes more intense and increasing extreme precipitation events.
“No water, no electricity, so you can’t do nothing,” Charles Verdin, chair of the Pointe-Au-Chien tribe, told the Times. Meanwhile, oil and gas bankruptcies and Ida created a “perfect storm” of potential toxic pollution from the 446 orphaned wells in the area hit by the storm, Patrick Courreges of the Louisiana DNR told E&E News. (Outages: New York Times $; Trash and anger: AP; Orphaned wells: E&E News; Climate Signals background: 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Extreme precipitation increase)