NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — On Saturday morning, Jefferson Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng discussed storm preparations for Hurricane Ida with WGNO in a zoom interview.
On Friday, Jefferson Parish announced a mandatory evacuation for areas outside the protection of the levee protection system, such as Grand Isle, Lafitte, Lower Lafitte, Barataria and Crown Point. President Sheng is pleased with the exodus of residents in those areas, but still encourages those inside the system to evacuate if possible.
“Internally, if you can leave, we want you to leave,” said Sheng. “Conditions are tough. All the weapons of a hurricane, we are vulnerable to. Whether it’s storm surge in our lower lying areas or excessive flooding up here. The secondary effects of a hurricane are very dangerous – the loss of electricity.
“Obviously our hospitals systems are already crowded from COVID, so they are not operating at full capacity like a normal storm would be. So we are coming into it in a fragile way, so if you can leave we want you to leave.”
According to Lee, 194 of 195 pumps are working, with the lone pump down being at the Goose Bayou Station in Lafitte, which is currently using portable pumps as backup support.
Lee likens Ida to another hurricane that devastated Southeast Louisiana 16 years ago.
“This is eerily reminiscent of 2005 with Hurricane Katrina, but we are in a much, much, different place in terms of our system fighting this storm than Hurricane Katrina.,” she said. “We have higher levee systems. We have safe houses that can withstand the storm. We are going to have people at the pump monitoring the pumps.
“We have redundancy built in, so we are a very different system coming into this storm,” Sheng continued. “But still this is a very dangerous storm and it’s going to be a long-lasting storm I’m told. Certainly with storm surge and people who are very vulnerable to that, we don’t want them in that area.”