NEW ORLEANS -- Power was restored Thursday afternoon to neighborhoods across New Orleans after vandals hit an Entergy substation, leaving a large swath of the city in the dark.

The outage affected nearly 5,000 customers in parts of the French Quarter, Central Business District, Mid-City, Broadmoor and Central City, frustrating Entergy New Orleans and businesses unable to feed people during the busy lunch hour.

Entergy New Orleans said equipment at the substation near the Superdome was stolen and damaged.

The power company said it had to de-energize the substation to make repairs, which took about an hour-and-a-half to finish.

Now, Entergy officials are investigating the vandalism and trying to figure out why someone would tamper with the equipment.

"Our concern is that it's very, very unsafe to go into a substation and begin to fool with equipment that's high voltage equipment,” said Melonie Stewart, Entergy’s director of customer service. “Whoever did this was not thinking and was very, very fortunate that they didn’t lose their life doing what they did in that substation."