Hurricane Ida makes Landfall in Louisiana; Unprecedented Damages

Large areas of wetlands and flotant were washed away by Hurricane Ida, affecting local farms; taken on Oct. 9, 2021 (Credit: European Space Agency Sentinel 2)

More than two months later, parts of Louisiana are still recovering from the effects of Hurricane Ida after it made landfall on August 29th.

Entering through the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Ida traveled along the edge of Louisiana and into Mississippi. Destruction from the hurricane has remained, as recovery in the small Bayou communities is slow. Wetlands had been substantially damaged, which impacted the residents, as they provided natural protection from flooding. Many are considering leaving Louisiana, despite having generational ties to the land. Some, such as the mayor of Jean Lafitte, Timothy Kerner Jr. are asking for a better levee system that protects every town, as the current one was made to prevent flooding in New Orleans. Kerner had also commented about feeling that the community he serves has been historically neglected, and has become dependent on outside intervention.

A study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Lafitte area is being conducted to understand the impact it endured from the West Closure Complex, the largest drainage pump system in the world, costing $1.1 billion for its production. 

With a massive loss of the marshes, storm surges reached concerning heights. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had originally estimated that the surge near the southeast corner of Lake Salvador was 6 to 7 feet tall. 12 to 14-foot surges were also estimated in Barataria Bay and Little Lake. In both, the height was said to have increased when waves flowed on top of the surges.

President Biden and other officials have heard from residents and Kerner. One of the officials stated that resolving this issue is to provide a solution to climate change.

Indigenous communities in the area are at risk as well. Isle-de-Jean-Charles, Pointe-au-Chien, and the United Houma Nation have no insurance and are rebuilding what was destroyed. Janie Luster, the elder of the United Houma Nation, has stated that she has already seen many depart due to the issue of hurricanes. The costs of maintaining a lifestyle in the state are high, with many trying to make insurance claims.

Some insurance companies have been unable to provide any finances because of the losses from Ida. The Louisiana insurance commissioner seeks litigation from the state government to prevent residents from losing their insurance policies. If done, up to $500,000 can be received for unpaid claims for each policyholder.

Some continue waiting, hoping for a recovery from the devastation of Hurricane Ida.

By Adrian Castillo, News- Editor