Hurricane Ida Leaves the Slidell Community at a Loss
Hurricane Ida is one of the most powerful storms ever to make landfall on the United States, and it destroyed dozens of coastal communities in August of 2021. With winds reaching up to 150 mph, the storm caused extensive damage throughout St. Tammany Parish:
- Uprooted trees blocking roadways
- Downed power lines
- Power outages for 95,000 customers
- Lack of cellular phone service
- Unsafe drinking water requiring a “boil water” advisory
- Wind, rain, and flood damage to homes
Slidell residents were left without power for days, relying on generators to power air conditioners in an effort to escape the sweltering Louisiana summer heat. Generators and gasoline were in short supply, adding to an already dire situation. Almost a dozen people in the state succumbed to heat stroke during this time.
Although 90% of Slidell, LA survived with little hurricane damage, the remaining 10%, especially neighborhoods on the south side of the city and those near Lake Pontchartrain, saw major flooding. Homes in some neighborhoods took on 3-4 feet of floodwater, leaving many residents homeless as they wait for insurance claims to come in that will fund repairs.
Floodwaters do more than damage homes after a hurricane – they also affect local wildlife, which can in turn affect humans. For example, some residents even saw a dolphin swimming in a Slidell neighborhood. On the other hand, this rise in water levels also brings a certain amount of danger with it, as a Slidell man was killed by an alligator while wading through flood water under his home following Ida. This goes to show how far-reaching the effects of a natural disaster can be, in ways that one might not expect.
Greg Cromer, Slidell’s mayor, says that the city learned a lot from Hurricane Katrina’s devastating impact and now has a sound hurricane incident plan in place to better serve the community should another storm of that magnitude occur. In the meantime, local and federal organizations are working to make sure those affected by Ida have the resources they need.