75 rescued in Plaquemines Parish - 25 still stranded



Posted on August 29, 2012 at 3:59 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 29 at 9:27 AM

Michael Luke / WWLTV.com
Email: webteam@wwltv.com | Twitter: @WWLTV

BRAITHWAITE, La. --  Rescue workers and public citizens rescued 75 people from flooded homes and rooftops from the town of Braithwaite after it was inundated with 10-12 feet of water, Parish President Billy Nungesser said Wednesday morning.

Eyewitness News' Maya Rodriguez said 25 people were still reportedly awaiting rescue on the parish's east bank on rooftops and in attics.

The lower part of the parish was taking the brunt of the storm after landfall was made there Tuesday night around 6:45 p.m. and rains continued to lash the area as the storm stalled.

The unexpected strength of the storm and the fact that it was stubbornly refusing to move on caused those that stayed behind to rush to their attics and rooftops seeking high ground as they scrambled to get to safety.

Nungesser said it is unclear if a back levee was overtopped or if it was breached. "This is not a category-1 (storm), I don't care what anybody says," he said. "This rain, this driving wind. I got more damage to my house than I had for Katrina."

The area from Braithwaite to White Ditch was swamped with floodwaters after Hurricane Isaac came roaring ashore.

Seather conditions made it difficult to coordinate the rescues. Shrimp boats were used to rescue people by picking people off rooftoops and taking them safety.

One Braithwaite resident, Gene Oddo, talked with WWL-TV as he rode out the storm in the attic with his wife and infant daughter. Oddo said he got trapped in the attic after the water came quickly.

"It came up so fast," said Oddo over the phone, adding that some neighbors were also trapped in the area.

The area, which is not part of the hurricane protection system, has dealt with flooding problems during serious storms before.

Nungesser said they're trying to get people out through St. Bernard.

"The water is going across the road pretty good. A minute ago they stopped moving people because they were fearful that they'd drive their cars off the road."

Nungesser said the area is seeing worst conditions than in Hurricane Gustav.

"If this is going to keep up for 36 hours, we're going to see that east bank area inundated with water."