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Hurricane Ida’s affect on Louisiana is ‘unprecedented,’ Cajun Navy Aid president says

She’s navigated by Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Harvey and different disasters, however Cajun Navy Aid (CNR) president Colleen Udell says that the affect of Hurricane Ida is “unprecedented.” 

CNR is a 501(c)Three group that has undergone coaching from each FEMA (Federal Emergency Administration Company) and the Division of Homeland Safety (DHS).

Based in 2016, the group of volunteers has assisted in quite a few rescue operations over land and water. 


Udell spoke with Fox Information on Sunday as Ida made landfall close to Port Fourchon, Louisiana. 

She stated the nonprofit was “all-hands-on-deck.” 

“We have activated anybody which is on cellular command put up and we’re pre-staging our boaters in areas which can be outdoors of the storm space. One of many issues that we now have carried out to assist put together is as quickly as we noticed the likelihood {that a} storm might kind – even when it was with the Nationwide Hurricane Middle being 20% – we begin watching,” she defined. “And, with our plans and our expertise from earlier years, particularly from 2020, we now have an awesome system down so far as our planning course of is anxious and we begin having conferences early. We additionally use the low season to assist put together.”

“We’ve boaters. We’ve a medical crew. We even have one other crew coming in. Influence Northwest is coming in from Seattle, Washington. They are going to be arriving [in] the realm immediately and will probably be deploying with us as properly,” Udell continued. 

A man passes by a section of roof that was blown off of a building in the French Quarter by Hurricane Ida winds, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in New Orleans. 

A person passes by a piece of roof that was blown off of a constructing within the French Quarter by Hurricane Ida winds, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in New Orleans.  (AP Picture/Eric Homosexual)

CNR has greater than 100 volunteers who’re “actively working the storm” proper now and a volunteer community of greater than 3,000 individuals who they’ll “faucet into at any time.” 

“So, there are volunteers from all walks of life. We’ve crane operators. We’ve elevator engineers. We’ve on a regular basis folks. You decide a profession, we now have someone [who] works in it. We’ve nurses which have been working [on] the COVID flooring. We’ve people that do wildlife rescue. We also have a volunteer [who] is within the U.Ok. [and] has been serving to us out.,” Udell stated. 

With a view to coordinate emergency reduction efforts – particularly as energy and cellphone towers are rendered inactive – CNR and its volunteers use apps, together with Zello and Glympse.

“After which, if communications do occur to exit, we now have a command put up and we now have particular directions for our groups,” she added. “We belief our division leads and belief our judgment.”

Cajun Navy Relief President Colleen Udell

Cajun Navy Aid President Colleen Udell (Credit score: Colleen Udell)

As well as, the CNR crew makes use of a various array of internet sites, have contacts in meteorology and stay in contact with Louisiana and GOHSEP (Governor’s Workplace of Homeland Safety and Emergency Preparedness) officers.

Practically a Class 5 storm, Ida’s most sustained winds at landfall had been estimated to be 150 mph. 

The Nationwide Hurricane Middle reported earlier Sunday that the attention of Ida made a second landfall alongside the state’s southern coast simply southwest of Galliano, with most sustained winds estimated at 145 mph.

A NOAA Nationwide Ocean Service tide gauge in Shell Seashore, Louisiana had reported a water degree of 6.eight ft above imply increased excessive water and one other at Bay Waveland Yacht Membership, Mississippi reported a water degree of 5.6 ft.

“That is devastating. That is devastating for Louisiana. I imply, Hurricane Laura got here into Lake Charles after which a lot injury so far as sq. mileage final yr, wind and timber,” Udell informed Fox Information. “That is unprecedented.”


Talking with reporters on Sunday, President Biden stated the storm was life-threatening with “immense” devastation and warranted that affected areas would obtain the complete sources of the federal authorities.

Based on Fox Climate’s Janice Dean, solely two hurricanes on file, since 1851, have made landfall in Louisiana with sustained winds that robust: Final Island in 1856, and Hurricane Laura in 2020. Each of these hurricanes had been 150 mph at landfall.

Hurricane Ida, one of the crucial highly effective storms ever to hit the U.S., notably struck on the identical date Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana and Mississippi 16 years earlier.

“This isn’t the type of storm that we usually get. That is going to be a lot stronger than we normally see and, fairly frankly, if you happen to had to attract up the worst doable path for a hurricane in Louisiana, it will be one thing very, very near what we’re seeing,” Gov. John Bel Edwards informed The Related Press on Sunday.

President Joe Biden speaks at the National Response Coordination Center at FEMA headquarters, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in Washington. Hurricane Ida blasted ashore Sunday as one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the U.S.

President Joe Biden speaks on the Nationwide Response Coordination Middle at FEMA headquarters, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in Washington. Hurricane Ida blasted ashore Sunday as one of the crucial highly effective storms ever to hit the U.S. (AP Picture/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell stated in a Saturday information convention that she beneficial residents voluntarily evacuate. 

Town was focusing particularly on a post-storm response as a result of timing of the hurricane and Cantrell famous that its hospitals had been “at capacities as properly.” 

There are greater than 2,400 COVID-19 sufferers in Louisiana hospitals, in line with the governor. 

Nonetheless, he stated, evacuating the hospitals was not an possibility.

“There aren’t hospitals with the capability to take them,” Edwards stated. “And so ensuring that they’ll preserve energy and water, have entry to all of the issues that they want and oxygen and different issues goes to essentially eat lots of our time and a spotlight as a result of we all know that the lights might be out, energy might be out for weeks.”

A man takes pictures of high waves along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain as Hurricane Ida nears, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in New Orleans.

A person takes photos of excessive waves alongside the shore of Lake Pontchartrain as Hurricane Ida nears, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Picture/Gerald Herbert)

Udell stated that CNR has expertise working amidst the pandemic from final yr and are dedicated to defending the well being and security of volunteers, companions and rescues: persevering with to take “all precautions to make sure their well being.” 

“We do present all of our volunteers with sources from the CDC and the WHO requirements on lowering the unfold,” she stated. 

Udell first acquired concerned with catastrophe response throughout Hurricane Harvey when a good friend posted on Fb on the lookout for somebody who might learn a map. She responded.

“And, I simply right into a journey channel and subsequent factor I do know I used to be guiding boaters by flooded streets in Beaumont, Texas and Houston. It went in opposition to all the pieces that I used to be taught about ‘don’t drive into floodwaters,'” she recalled. “And, I simply caught round. I did not simply present up. I confirmed up and stayed.” 

Nonetheless, she notes, going right into a catastrophe zone will not be for everybody. 

“There are sights, sounds, smells. The one factor that TV can not present somebody is the odor. You possibly can see photos of destruction, however till you are really standing there – it is vitally heart-wrenching. It’s so devastating to see,” she informed Fox Information. “It does take lots of emotional energy.”


CNR advises folks hunker down, keep as protected as doable and instructs these in must name 911 first earlier than going to their web site. 

The Class four storm is projected to proceed shifting northwest by Sunday night with a flip to the north by Monday morning.

“After we check out historical past – have a look at Hurricane Katrina, what it did. Hurricane Michael, when it got here into the panhandle of Florida. Take a look at Hurricane Harvey. Take a look at Hurricane Laura. That is unprecedented for the state of Louisiana,” Udell stated. “It’s going to be a large number.”

Fox Information’ Audrey Conklin and The Related Press contributed to this report.


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