Energy & Environment

Over 40,000 students in Louisiana could be out of classrooms until October amid Ida damage

A man walks down a street flooded by Hurricane Ida in Kenner, La.
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At least 45,000 students in Louisiana could still be out of the classroom until next month as the state grapples with the remaining damage and loss of power following Hurricane Ida, NPR reported on Friday.

The public radio news outlet noted that roughly 250,000 school-age children in the state currently cannot return to classrooms.

Electricity is slowly returning to many communities, but as many as 45,000 students in the state could be unable to return to in-person instruction until October due to a lack of power or damage to buildings. 

Entergy, the utility company that services the city of New Orleans and southeastern portions of the state, announced on Twitter on Friday that 80 percent of customers now had their power restored. Ida made landfall as a powerful category 4 hurricane in the state on Aug. 29, leaving close to 1 million without power in Louisiana. 

Several parishes in the state are expected to have their power back no later than Sept. 29, including Lafourche Parish, lower Jefferson Parish, parts of Plaquemines Parish, St. Charles Parish and Terrebonne Parish, according to an Entergy hurrican update as of Friday at 11 a.m.

The utility has previously warned that “restoration dates represent the vast majority of customers for a given parish and a few customers in the most affected areas could still be without power for longer.”

A superintendent for the school system of one parish told NPR that the district was still grappling with damages from last year’s hurricanes. Though Calcasieu Parish Public Schools said it so far had received $116,000 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), it is dealing with damages that add up to around $400 million. 

NPR was told by a spokesperson for the agency that FEMA is “looking into the situation.”

The Hill has reached out to FEMA for comment.

Critical supplies like generators and food have already been sent to the state by the agency.

Last week, President Biden toured some of the state’s damage and was briefed by officials on the ground. Speaking at LaPlace, La., he promised those in the state that “We’re going to be here for you.”

“Folks, I know you’re hurting. I know you’re hurting. Folks in Lake Charles who I visited earlier this year are still hurting from Hurricane Laura. I want you to know, we’re going to be here for you,” Biden said last Friday.

Tags FEMA Hurricane Ida Joe Biden Joe Biden Louisiana
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