Isaac leaves Louisiana soaked
Aug 31, 2012 / 7:42 pm
Floodwaters from Hurricane Isaac receded, power came on and businesses opened ahead of the U.S. Labor Day holiday weekend, the beginning of what is certain to be a slow recovery for Louisiana.
There were other signs of life getting back to some sense of normalcy Friday. The Mississippi River opened to limited traffic, the French Quarter rekindled its lively spirit and restaurants reopened.
Isaac dumped as much as 41 centimetres of rain in some areas, and about 500 people had to be rescued by boat or high-water vehicles.
More than 5,000 people were still staying in shelters.
The remainder of the storm was still a powerful system packing rain and the threat of flash flooding as it headed across Arkansas into Missouri and then up the Ohio River valley over the weekend, the National Weather Service said.
Farther south, the storm victims included a man and a woman discovered late Thursday in a home in the hard-hit town of Braithwaite, south of New Orleans; a man killed in a restaurant fire; two men killed in separate car accidents and a man who fell from a tree.
Isaac's death toll is now at least seven, five in Louisiana and two in Mississippi. It includes a 75-year-old Slidell, Louisiana man who drowned after his car fell from a flooded highway up-ramp into almost three meters of water Thursday evening. Mississippi authorities have confirmed that the death Thursday of a 62-year-old woman whose car was hit by a tree has also been attributed to Isaac.
In Louisiana alone, the storm cut power to 901,000 homes and businesses, or about 47 per cent of the state, but that was down to 617,000.
Newly-nominated Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney visited flood-ravaged communities, and President Barack Obama said he would arrive Monday, appearances this part of the country is all too familiar with after Katrina and the Gulf oil spill.
More than 15,000 utility workers began restoring power to customers in Louisiana and Mississippi, but officials said it would be a couple of days before power was fully restored.
Crews intentionally breached a levee that was strained by Isaac's floodwaters in southeast Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish, which is outside the federal levee system. Aerial images showed the water gushing out. Gov. Jindal said officials expected 70 per cent of the water on the east bank to disappear because of the release and changing wind direction.
Plaisance reported from Lafitte. Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Brian Schwaner and Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Kevin McGill in Houma, Louisiana; Holbrook Mohr in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
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