Louisiana police chief says town was hit harder by Ida than Katrina

Louisiana police chief says town was hit harder by Ida than Katrina
© (MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty Images)

A Louisiana police chief has described the damage caused in the town of Grand Isle as a result of Hurricane Ida as significantly worse than anything he experienced during Hurricane Katrina, which ravaged the state, leaving more than 1,800 people dead in 2005.

“I’ve ridden out other hurricanes — Hurricane Isaac, Katrina, Gustav, Ike — and this is no comparison whatsoever. This is the worst. ... It’s just amazing that no one [here] was killed or even seriously injured,” Grand Isle Police Chief Scooter Resweber told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Resweber said that the Category 4 storm caused heavy damage in the town with a population of 1,400, ripping roofs from homes, crumbling building walls and reducing other structures to nothing but debris.

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He and his fellow officers hunkered down inside the city's police station on Sunday as Ida made landfall.

“I had all the police officers move into the building for safety, and then all hell broke loose,” Resweber told the AP. “Roofs started to come apart. We could see buildings flying to pieces across the street from us. It’s something that you just don’t want to ever see again."

Resweber described the fear that he and other officers felt as the storm began to pick up and the roof of the police station started to lift, the AP reported.

"We’re grown men but you do have fear in you, no matter what job you’re in, and we felt it.”

Cynthia Lee Sheng, who is the president of the parish where Grand Isle is located, said that after Ida the island is “uninhabitable." She also said that the levee system sustained multiple breaks and every building was damaged in some way.

“So that is not good,” Sheng said.

Resweber on Monday reportedly assessed damage in the town and checked on residents who had not evacuated. He reported that his home was destroyed by the storm along with numerous others, according to the AP. No one was seriously injured.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) said Monday that he expects the death toll from the storm to rise as search and rescue missions continue.

"We have one confirmed death, but I don't want to mislead anyone," Edwards said while appearing on MSNBC. "Robust search and rescue is happening right now, and I fully expect that death count will go up considerably throughout the day."