TFC News

New Orleans Fil-Ams hunker down as Ida pummels the region

Paul Garilao | TFC News Louisiana

Posted at Aug 31 2021 04:37 PM

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Ida was downgraded to a tropical depression Monday afternoon but not before wreaking havoc in Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane.

The storm made landfall on Sunday, killing at least two people, and leaving millions of residents without power. Ida brought powerful winds of 150 mph that tore up roofs of some buildings and houses. Hundreds of boats and high-water vehicles were deployed to help search and rescue residents who fled to their attics and rooftops as Ida caused storm surge and heavy flooding in the region.

Despite the storm weakening, the National Hurricane Center warned that dangerous storm surge, damaging winds, and flash flooding will continue over portions of Southern Louisiana and Southern Mississippi. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden declared Louisiana a major disaster zone. This will allow the government to expedite help for hurricane victims who need emergency assistance such as temporary lodging and immediate home repairs.

Before the hurricane hit the Bayou State, Governor John Bel Edwards issued evacuation orders in the affected areas including New Orleans. Several Fil-Ams heed the orders, but Loy Madrigal and his family stayed in New Orleans and just hunkered down on the second floor of their house. "Wala na kaming electricity. We thought na eto'y mabilis ang paggalaw pero hindi. So we just hope for the best and we'll see how much yung damage ng bagyo na itong si Ida (We don’t have electricity. We thought the storm would move through fast, but it didn't. So we just hope for the best and we’ll see how much damage this Hurricane Ida caused)," Madrigal said.

Madrigal opened his restaurant to Fil-Ams seeking shelters, while his son Neil assisted and provided security to a news crew of a media company, who were also covering the hurricane.

"We are getting hit left and right by heavy winds and water. We have a whole bunch of buildings and other street signs that were destroyed by debris. Houses are being ripped apart," Neil shared.

Ida struck Louisiana on the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina that killed more than 1,800 residents of the state. Neil says Katrina's impact is still worse compared to that of Ida. "Katrina was more on the water side. What mostly affected the people of Louisiana are the heavy constant, many days of rain. Hurricane Ida is slightly different. It's mostly the wind that is very dangerous. The rain is constant. There is no thunder and lightning," Neil observed.