Louisiana whittles away at Hurricane Ida power, water outages; blue roof program expanded
Louisiana continues to whittle away at power and water outages 10 days after Hurricane Ida shredded the southeastern part of the state, while FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of engineers expanded those eligible for their homes to be patched with blue tarps.
Still, more than 250,000 customers remained without power and about 500,000 households and businesses were either under boil orders for tap water or without it altogether.
"While much progress has been made ... we're going to work just as hard as we can to speed relief to those who need it," Gov. John Bel Edwards said during a Thursday afternoon press conference.
The corps' blue roof program provides installation of a tarp if a house is habitable with the patch. More than 48,000 people have already applied with the first tarp being installed in Orleans Parish Thursday.
“This is good news for the Hurricane Ida victims across several parishes," Republican Baton Rouge Congressman Garret Graves said. "We all know that allowing homes to take on more water while waiting for repairs only means more damage, more mold, more cost and more delays.”
Graves was joined by fellow Louisiana U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie, Clay Higgins, R-Port Barre', Julia Letlow, R-Start, and Troy Carter, D-New Orleans, in requesting FEMA expand the program.
New eligible parishes include: East Baton Rouge; East Feliciana; Iberia; Iberville; Pointe Coupee; St. Martin; St. Mary; Washington; West Baton Rouge and West Feliciana.
Parishes already eligible for the blue roof program include: Ascension; Assumption, Jefferson; Lafourche; Livingston; Orleans; Plaquemines; St. Bernard; St. Charles; St. Helena; St. James; St. John the Baptist; St. Tammany; Tangipahoa; and Terrebonne.
To register for the program visit http://blueroof.us or call 1-888-766-3258.
Edwards said he has also formally postponed the fall elections through executive order from Oct. 9 to Nov. 13 and from Nov. 13 to Dec. 11.
Early voting has also been delayed. Early voting for the Nov. 13 election will be Oct. 30-Nov. 6 (excluding Sunday) and for the Dec. 11 election Nov. 27-Dec. 4 (excluding Sunday).
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1