Students remember Hurricane Ida


David Grunfeld, Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP

New Orleans Publics Works employee Clyde Wilson directs the dumping of trash on Congress Street in New Orleans, Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. Garbage and debris are piling up along many New Orleans streets almost three weeks after Hurricane Ida pounded southeast Louisiana.

Jonathan Whitehead, Staff Writer

The one year anniversary of Hurricane Ida just passed, and an alarming percentage of Louisiana residents are still dealing with the hardships that came from this storm, even with the $2.6 billion of Army Corps of Engineers Funding that was provided to the state.
Today, the New Orleans community anticipates the possible dangers that will come with the upcoming hurricane season, which typically falls between August and October. This past August, however, there were no named tropical storms in the Atlantic for the third time since 1950, according to The-Times Picayune. This rarity has left New Orleanians anxious for what strong storms may be brewing under the radar in the coming months.
Olivia Cerminaro, marketing student and Jefferson Parish resident, shared that she and her family stayed for the hurricane. She said that, “usually the storms aren’t as bad as they say they are going to be. Being from New Orleans, we were used to the stronger hurricanes.” But half of her home was destroyed in the storm by an oak tree that was in her front yard , and the damage is still not fixed today. Cerminaro described the status of her home as, “not livable and is currently taped off with a tarp,” however, her family continues to reside in their home coinciding with the hurricane damage. With the destruction of her home still in place, she said that she is very concerned about this hurricane season. She added, “my family will be evacuating for the storms to come.”
Yvonne Kalpakis, Loyola criminology student shared her Ida story as well, saying that she and her roommates decided not to evacuate their Uptown home before the storm.
“None of us are New Orleans-natives, and we have only experienced weaker hurricanes during our time at Loyola, so we did not think there was a need to evacuate the city.”
Luckily, there was minimal damage to her home during the storm. “We were stranded with limited food supplies and had no way to ventilate away the treacherous New Orleans August heat,” Kalpakis added. “We struggled for days to look for flights, buses, or AmTracks to get us out of New Orleans, but there was no hope that public transportation would be entering or leaving the ghost town.”
Mayor of Lafitte Tim Kerner Jr., shared in an interview with WDSU that Ida was recorded as the strongest storm to have hit Lafitte and destroyed up to 55% of its homes. “A year later and we are the only devastated community that has been left out of any federal hurricane protection,” said Kerner Jr.

After this first-hand experience, she believes she is more aware of the severity that New Orleans hurricanes hold, and that she now has an evacuation plan set with her friends and family if needed.