Hurricane Ida damage has left Grand Isle ‘uninhabitable,’ Louisiana parish leader says


The fury of Hurricane Ida has left the barrier island community of Grand Isle "uninhabitable," a Louisiana parish leader said Tuesday.

A search-and-rescue caravan traveling to the Jefferson Parish community was able to arrive by road but 10 to 12 levee breaks on the Gulf of Mexico side of the island left 100% of homes and other structures damaged, with nearly 40% of them totally destroyed or nearly destroyed, parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng told reporters at a news conference.

In addition, the island – located about 111 miles south of New Orleans -- was covered with about three feet of sand, Sheng said.

Grand Isle police Chief Scooter Resweber said he and other officers waited out the hurricane inside the town's police station, according to The Associated Press.

"I had all the police officers move into the building for safety – and then all hell broke loose," Resweber told the AP.

IDA AFTERMATH: MISSISSIPPI HIGHWAY COLLAPSES, 2 KILLED, AT LEAST 10 INJURED

"Roofs started to come apart. We could see buildings flying into pieces across the street from us. It's something that you just don't want to ever see again."

"Roofs started to come apart. We could see buildings flying into pieces across the street from us. It's something that you just don't want to ever see again."

— Chief Scooter Resweber, Grand Isle, Louisiana, police

Even the police station was threatened, he said.

"When the roof started to come apart and the building trembled, we all got scared," he said. "We're grown men but you do have fear in you, no matter what job you're in, and we felt it."

The chief called it the most severe hurricane he had ever experienced.

"I've ridden out other hurricanes – Hurricane Isaac, Katrina, Gustav, Ike – and this is no comparison whatsoever," he said. "This is the worst. … It's just amazing that no one (here) was killed or even seriously injured."

RESCUE EFFORTS CONTINUE IN LOUISIANA AFTER IDA WEAKENS TO TROPICAL DEPRESSION

Elsewhere in Jefferson Parish, which lies along the Gulf coast in the New Orleans area, the town of Lafitte had numerous homes flooded with water, but crews were able to rescue 15 people, Sheng said, according to WWL-TV of New Orleans.

Sheng advised anyone who had left the area to not yet return, given the extensive damage.

"These are not conditions to be living in," Sheng said, according to WWL.

She said drinking water and ice distribution sites were being set up for those residents who stayed in their homes.

Trash pickup would not resume until Monday, largely because of road and traffic-signal conditions, she told reporters.

Widespread destruction

Also Tuesday, Rob Krieger of FOX 8 New Orleans toured Grand Isle and posted video on Facebook that shows the widespread destruction.

"There are zero services on the island right now," he wrote, "power, water, and cell service are down."

Krieger also posted video from Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, located on the northeast shore of Lake Pontchartrain, about 32 miles northeast of New Orleans.

The video included a young man ferrying neighbors around with his boat.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

"Really great guy doing exactly what you’d expect out of a true Louisianan," Krieger wrote in his post.

Hurricane Ida struck land Sunday, with winds reaching higher than 170 miles per hour, the AP reported. The total destruction to affected areas was still being assessed Tuesday.

Before the hurricane hit, Sheng had advised Jefferson Parish residents to "leave immediately," warning that the hurricane was "unsurvivable."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.