Sept. 4 Hurricane Ida updates for Ascension Parish: Jambalaya champ cooks for linemen

Michael Tortorich
Donaldsonville Chief
Gonzales Jambalaya Festival World Champion Joey Cornett cooked for more than a hundred linemen housed at Dutchtown High School.

World champion cooks for lineman

Gonzales Jambalaya Festival World Champion Joey Cornett cooked for more than a hundred linemen housed at Dutchtown High School.

The Ascension Parish School Board has been allowing the workers to stay at the Geismar school.

Ascension Parish President Clint Cointment and the Ascension Parish Council's Chase Melancon shared a photo of Cornett and his family cooking a large pot for linemen who hail from Iowa and New York.

"Naturally, the lineman loved it. Somehow, they were thanking us!" the parish president stated.

More than 120 cots and air mattresses were set up for the linemen to sleep.

With the help of Ascension Parish Schools and the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, the partnership to house additional workers was put together quickly, the post stated.

Cointment also thanked Chief Administrative Officer John Diez and the Ascension Parish Council's Chase Melancon for their assistance.

Ascension Parish curfew extended

The Ascension Parish curfew will be from midnight to 6 a.m.

Travel to and from work is allowed.

Donaldsonville postal service update

According to the City of Donaldsonville, the city's postmaster drove to Houma due to trucks not being able to reach the Donaldsonville area. 

The lobby of the United States Post Office location will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for post office box customers to retrieve mail.

Additionally, employees will be delivering mail.

Ascension Parish permits

Parish President Cointment posted the following about permits: "During this emergency the power companies should not be requiring the normal Ascension Parish Permit to get your homes back restored. We are reaching out to DEMCO and Entergy and reminding them of this! This Tuesday we will have a full update on waiving permitting fees for reconstruction from IDA storm damage ONLY."

City of Donaldsonville update

Donaldsonville Mayor Leroy Sullivan said in his daily update that more than 800 donations were given at the Frank Sotile Jr. Pavilion. It continued into Sept. 4.

Residents lined up beginning Sept. 3 at the Lemann Memorial Center to receive tarps, water, ice, and Meals Ready to Eat.

The event was operated by the Louisiana National Guard, with support from the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office and AOHSEP. 

Also Ascension Parish OHSEP alerted the community that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin Operation Blue Roof to cover damaged roofs in Ascension Parish soon. Visit blueroof.us or call 1-888-766-3258.

The city's website also has resources for SNAP extended benefits and federal resources through FEMA.

Just before lunch time, Justice of the Peace Tamiko Francis Garrison hosted a free jambalaya and water event at 214 Railroad Avenue. It was sponsored by The Sullivan Firm, Mayor Leroy Sullivan, Councilman Reginald Francis, Oliver Joseph, Donaldsonville Downtown Development District, and the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office.

On Sept. 6, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and the Ascension Parish Government will be providing food in Donaldsonville by donating 1,500 cases of water and 1,500 boxes of non-perishable food at the Frank Sotile Jr. Pavilion on Thibaut Drive.

Volunteers will begin distributing at 11 a.m. on a first come, first served basis, while supplies last. 

City officials have been getting daily briefings from Entergy about power restoration.

"While there are a number of rumors surrounding exact dates, please know that Entergy personnel are doing everything they can to work with their contractors to get our city back up and running. Power should have begun to be restored as early as last night and reports are confirmed that this happened," the mayor stated.

DOTD adds parishes for debris pickup

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development announced that beginning Sept. 4, crews will begin debris pickup on state right-of-way in additional areas impacted by Hurricane Ida.

There are currently debris contractors in Ascension, Assumption, St. James, St. Bernard, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Helena, and Livingston parishes. Over the next 48 hours, DOTD plans to have debris contractors in Jefferson, St. Charles, Tangipahoa, St. John, Washington, and St. Tammany Parishes picking up debris.

Because of the large amount of debris and damage caused by Ida, this process could take some time and there will be multiple sweeps for debris removal, according to DOTD's news release.

Boucherie and Balloon Festival postponed

Due to Hurricane Ida, the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales has canceled all events for the upcoming months.

The 2021 Boucherie and Balloon Festival has been postponed until further notice, according to a Facebook post on the festival's page.

To aid in the recovery of our community and surrounding parishes, LDEC will be converting to a shelter and distribution site. 

DEMCO update

DEMCO provided an update on Ascension Parish and the surrounding area late Sept. 4.

In a Facebook post, the company said one substation in Ascension has damage on both sides, so crews are working from both sides to gain access, make repairs and get transmission in service.

"We estimate that this will take 24-36 hours to complete.  Members served by this include areas of St. Amant, Prairieville, Gonzales, Galvez, Lower Livingston, Head of Island and French Settlement. As soon as it is safe to do so, we will try to pull and share power from other areas in our system until the transmission system is repaired," the post stated.