ST. CHARLES PARISH, La. — A drive down any street in St. Charles Parish reveals much of the same.
Piles of debris everywhere, tarps on rooftops, snapped trees, and crews working to restore power.
Two weeks after Hurricane Ida, much of the parish remains in the dark.
“Sixty-eight percent of the parish is still without power, ”St. Charles Parish President Matthew Jewell said Tuesday.
A boil-water advisory will remain in effect until power is fully restored.
Jewell said while the number of outages remains high, he’s seen progress.
“We’re seeing Entergy move a lot faster than they originally anticipated, which is a good thing,” he said. “In fact, some areas of the parish got turned on yesterday -- Paradis, Des Allemands, Bayou Gauche -- which weren’t expecting power for several more days.”
But debris remains an issue -- and likely will for weeks, if not months.
“To put it in perspective, Hurricane Katrina produced about 450,000 yards of debris in St. Charles Parish," Jewell said. "We have over a million yards of debris for this storm.”
With the remnant of Tropical Storm Nicholas soaking most of Louisiana on Tuesday, concern centered around drainage ditches filling up with branches, leaves and other material.
“That really is going to inhibit drainage, so we’re keeping a close eye on the amount of rain that’s falling,” Jewell said.
And the rain wasn’t a welcome sight in a parish that is doing what it can to clean up in a timely manner.
Few people were out and about given the soggy conditions, but some signs of normalcy were coming back, such as mail delivery.
Jewell said the most anyone can do right now is take recovery one day at a time.
“Days like today when it’s raining, that is going to slow down our restoration progress on various fronts when it comes to electricity, debris collection, trash collection. We definitely want those prettier days to allow us to get out and continue working.”
He said property owners should contact the parish to get permits for repairs.
“With so many fly-by-night contractors, it’s important you have that permit,” Jewell said. “That’s there to protect you and make sure those contractors are doing what they’re supposed to.”
He said fees are waived and can apply in person at the Planning and Zoning Office, by calling (985) 722-4473 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.