Ida Aftermath: Grand Isle nearly three months later

Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 9:45 PM CST
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Grand Isle, LA (KPLC) - It’s been nearly three months since Hurricane Ida slammed into Southeast Louisiana as a powerful category four storm, but as many in Southwest Louisiana know, there’s still a long road to recovery.

It’s a sight all too familiar to those who live along the Louisiana coast.

When Ida hit on August 29, the island of Grand Isle was no match.

“Just total devastation,” Grand Isle resident David Sears said.

Sears lost his home to the hurricane.

“I mean, it’s mother nature. Pick up the pieces and help one another out,” Sears said.

Forceful winds and a storm surge upwards of 15 to 18 feet bypassed parts of the levy - leaving the town almost unrecognizable.

“The house started falling, so we all went outside and waited for it to pass,” resident Ray Arabie said. “The water was at the Tropical Motel - well the levy had broke right across the street from the Tropical Motel. The water was up to my neck.”

Arabie says Coast Guard helicopters lifted him out of Grand Isle and took him to Houma after the storm hit. But he’s not the only one to ride out the storm.

“Our roof came off on the building and when that happened, it pressurized everything and made other spots pop off,” Adriane Cunningham, with the Grand Isle Police Department, said. “And it was very scary. It was like your ears popped.”

Cunningham watched the storm from the window of Police Chief Scooter Resweber’s office.

“It was exciting. We were watching the buildings - little tin and stuff blowing off,” Resweber said. “And all of a sudden, we started seeing buildings coming apart.”

Resweber says riding out the storm is something he wouldn’t do again after seeing how bad Ida’s damage was.

“The disaster part - you’ll see that for years. Those buildings are going to have to be demolitioned one by one,” Resweber said. “The one across the street - just to pile it up took two days. You can imagine how many buildings you saw. Each one has got to be pulled down, piled up on the side of the road, picked up, and hauled off.”

Though we are still on a path of our own recovery in SWLA, for Grand Isle, this is just the beginning.

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