Hurricane Gustav strikes
By Howell Dennis
CROWLEY – Hurricane Gustav slammed into Louisiana near Houma Monday afternoon leaving a path of destruction and lost electricity across south Louisiana. As of press time, there were ten casualties that were related to the storm and it’s aftermath. Included in these were an elderly couple who evacuated from Abbeville to Baton Rouge only to have a tree fall onto the home they had moved to.
In Crowley, though the destruction was not as widespread as it was during Rita and Lilly, power was still down in some areas as Cleco employees worked tirelessly in an effort to get the town back to 100 percent. They are asking people to remain patient as their phone lines have been flooded.
Perhaps the biggest concern of any area in south Louisiana was, of course, New Orleans which hadn’t had their levees tested since Katrina breached several parts of their levee system flooding 80 percent of the city in 2005. The levees seemed to hold up - but just barely.
“We dodged a major bullet,” said New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.
Iberia and Avoyelles parishes also suffered major damage as residents were being turned away as they tried to return home Tuesday night.
In Crowley, though the storm did kill the power and down some trees, the overall assessment was pretty good.
“Overall we are fortunate that the storm was not as strong as it could have been,” said Crowley mayor Greg Jones. “Aside from the power issues there was no major damage to property. We were also lucky in that Tuesday was supposed to be an assessment day with a 90% chance of rain but since it didn’t rain as much as we thought workers were able to restore power to about 50 percent of the city.”
“The rain today will obviously slow them down so we are asking our residents to be patient,” he added.
It should be noted that parts of the system were still wreaking havoc across the area as of Wednesday morning. Two people were killed in Mamou by a tornado Tuesday night.