June 21, 2024

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Seniors left in dark, hot facilities after Ida

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Officials in New Orleans will thoroughly inspect senior living apartments in the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida after finding people living in buildings without working generators, which left residents trapped in wheelchairs on dark, sweltering upper floors, Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Monday.

Hundreds were evacuated Saturday and the city later said five people had died in the privately run buildings in the days after the storm. The coroner’s office is investigating whether the deaths will be attributed to the hurricane, which struck land nine days before.

The managers of some of the homes for seniors evacuated out of state without making sure the residents would be safe after the storm, New Orleans City Council member Kristin Palmer said at a news conference.

“They’re hiding under the loophole of ‘independent living,’” Palmer said. “It’s not independent living if there’s no power and you’re in a wheelchair on the fourth floor.”


The city is creating teams of workers from the health, safety and permits, code enforcement and other departments. Their first focus is to make sure the senior homes are safe and evacuate people if necessary, Cantrell said.

But after that, management will be held accountable, and the city will likely add requirements that include facilities having emergency agreements in place with contractors who will make sure generator power is available at the sites, the mayor said.

Crews in Louisiana have restored power to nearly 70% of greater New Orleans and nearly all of Baton Rouge after Hurricane Ida, but outside those large cities, getting lights back on is a complex challenge that will last almost all of September, utility executives said Monday.

It’s going to involve air boats to get into the swamps and marshes to string lines and repair the most remote of about 22,000 power poles that Ida blew down when it came ashore on Aug. 29 as one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the U.S. mainland, Entergy Louisiana President and CEO Phillip May said.

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