‘It looks like a war zone’ : Hurricane Ida floods Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish

Judy Woodruff speaks to Louisiana Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser about the aftermath of Hurricane Ida on Plaquemines Parish and what rebuilding efforts will look like.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser is in Plaquemines Parish. And he joins us now on the phone.

    Mr. Lieutenant Governor, remind everyone where Plaquemines is. And what is the situation there now?

  • Gov. Billy Nungesser¬† (R-LA):

    Well, Plaquemines Parish is that little finger that sticks 100 miles out into the Gulf of Mexico, both sides of the Mississippi River, and was (AUDIO GAP) Plaquemines Parish.

    It's still many miles of it is underwater. And it's — it looks like a war zone.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Well, tell us what you have seen today and what people are saying.

    To what extent are people in distress, are homes and other buildings and people's lives turned upside down?

  • Gov. Billy Nungesser:

    Well, the town of (INAUDIBLE) and Myrtle Grove are submerged in water.

    Last night, when everyone went to bed, there were frantic calls to evacuate people from the Jesuit Bend area as water rushed up Highway 23, where they were flood-fighting. Those efforts failed.

    Luckily, it didn't get into all of those homes. But people were frantically leaving their homes in the middle of the night. And, today, Highway 23 is continually submerged in water. The back levee is — the water will not go out until the wind turns around, and then pumping it down will begin.

    But most of the parish is out of power. And it's going to be a long recovery, as all of coastal Louisiana and many miles inland, Houma, Morgan City, Thibodaux. And then the rainfall in LaPlace and LaPlace and those areas throughout the metro area., heavy rains flooded those areas from the sky as well.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    You say it's going to take a long time.

    What kinds of things are you going to need in Louisiana to get through this?

  • Gov. Billy Nungesser:

    Well, obviously, the funding and support of the federal government.

    VolunteerLouisiana.gov, we have got 10,000 volunteers that go out and help these communities. It can't all be done with government money. But, obviously, FEMA and their resources are so important. The president did grant the emergency declaration to the governor of our state.

    So we will begin the process of assessing the damages to not only homes, roads, bridges, and infrastructure, and schools, but getting the power back on, because of a major failure in this area of a line falling in the river, it could be several weeks, if not a month before we get power to a majority of the people.

    I believe it's over a million people now are without power.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Oh, it sounds so very difficult.

    Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser of the state of Louisiana, thank you so much for joining us. And we wish you the very best as you work to make people's lives better at this terrible moment.

    Thank you.

  • Gov. Billy Nungesser:

    Thank you so much.

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