Ascension Parish preparing ahead of hurricane season, still recovering from 2021
ST. AMANT - Back in 2021 when Hurricane Ida made landfall, many areas of the state were heavily damaged, including Ascension Parish.
This year, people in Ascension are not waiting until a storm is brewing in the Gulf of Mexico to prepare for impacts.
Many buildings were damaged with their roofs gone—that was the reality for many in Ascension parish in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, St. Amant Fire Chief James Leblanc said “We probably got between 25 to 30 percent of our structures that are damaged.”
This year, Leblanc said the department can already see preparations in action ahead of hurricane season.
“When you drive around the St. Amant community, people are really starting to remove dead trees from around their homes. Just so much devastation from Hurricane Ida,” said Leblanc. “Trees on top of people's homes. Trees on top of people's shops. Trees on top of people's vehicles. I think you see people starting to get prepared now. They are starting to remove any kind of large trees.”
Ida was a category 2 storm when the eyewall hit Ascension, and its winds caused the most damage.
According to carpenter Coby Ficklin, people have been specifically requesting sturdier builds.
“They want it beefed up to where they have a little bit more sense of security for the next storm season,” Ficklin said.
At the fire station, Chief Leblanc said he and his team of volunteers have not wasted any time, and they are buying plenty of supplies over the last 45 days, including extra tarps and water.
“We just picked up last week we picked up six brand new chainsaws, so we're getting prepared now because we don't have time to rush to the local stores when a storm is in the gulf,” said Leblanc.
Leblanc also reiterated the community was hit hard by Ida like much of south Louisiana, and he wants people to be prepared when the next storm hits.
“Get your resources now. Get your extra water now, get your extra medicine now, get your extra food now, get your extra gas cans now, get your extra batteries now, get all that now. That way when the storm gets here, you don't have to get that,” he continued.
In addition to stocking the fire stations in St. Amant and Sorrento with supplies, Leblanc has been reminding all of his residents of how to prepare, including listening for real-time alerts through a weather radio or the WBRZ weather app.
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