More Bodies Found As Isaac Recovery Efforts Continue
The two were found in seven feet of water late Thursday afternoon inside the dwelling’s kitchen. The couple is described as being in their 40s. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death, according to CNN.
Officials in Mississippi also reported a storm-related death when a tow truck driver was killed by a falling tree while attempting to clear debris from a road, reports CNN.
According to The Fresno Bee, at least five deaths have been reported in Louisiana and Mississippi and the damage may not be done. “It will be a few days before the soupy brown water recedes and people forced out of flooded neighborhoods can return home.”
Isaac has left a path of destruction as neighborhoods in Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas are flooded and without power.
Officials were pumping water from a reservoir to ease the pressure behind an Isaac-stressed dam in Mississippi on the Louisiana border.
The earthen dam on Lake Tangipahoa could unleash a 17-foot flood crest downstream in Louisiana if it were to give way, which prompted evacuations in small towns and rural areas Thursday. Officials released extra water through the dam and were considering punching a hole in it to lower the rain-swollen reservoir.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he would visit Louisiana. On Friday, he scheduled a last-minute visit to Lafitte, La. with Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Lafitte was the site of rescue efforts when Isaac’s tidal surge pushed through Wednesday night and into Thursday.
White House spokesman Jay Carney announced that President Barack Obama will visit the state Monday to examine the water and wind damage caused by Isaac.
Obama declared the impact on Louisiana and Mississippi major disasters in order to release federal aid for a region that has suffered up to $2 billion in damages, a fraction of the $41 billion cost of Hurricane Katrina seven years ago, according to The Guardian.
Around 700,000 homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi were still without power on Friday – down from a peak of 1 million – but airports, oil refineries and other infrastructure were returning to normal. Midwest farmers hoped the rain would ease a drought without damaging crops.
A $14.5 billion federal flood defense upgrade since Katrina, when 1,800 people died, was credited with averting serious damage in New Orleans but semi-rural communities on its outskirts such as Braithwaite relied on a more basic, state-built 8 feet levee which proved no match for the waters.
Many residents said the higher defenses around New Orleans channeled the surge to them. "All that water had to go somewhere. Well, it came here," said Eric Desalvo, 20.
New Orleans was spared from any major damage, but drivers patrolled the streets looking for gas and facing long waits at stations that had power Friday.
Some stations were out of gas and others had gas but no power to pump it, according to The Fresno Bee. At the Magnolia Discount Gas Station in New Orleans’ Carrollton neighborhood, employee Gadeaon Fentessa said up to 50 drivers were pulling in, hoping to find gas. He had the gas, but no power.
Hurricane Isaac dumped as much as 16 inches of rain in some areas and about 500 people had to be rescued by boat or high-water vehicles.
In Plaquemines Parish, where the two bodies were found, private citizens in their boats led the rescue effort, said Parish President Billy Nungesser to Reuters. Nungesser said about 2,000 residents were ordered to evacuate but only half were confirmed to have left before Isaac made landfall late on Tuesday.
Jesse Shaffer, a Braithwaite resident, told reporters that he and his father rescued more than 20 people during several outings in their fishing boat.
Local television showed rescuers in a small boat chopping through the attic window of a house to pull a man and his four dogs to safety in the Braithwaite subdivision, a neighborhood of brick houses that were submerged to the first floor, according to Reuters.
Utility workers are trying to restore electricity Friday and Entergy Corp. said they were assessing the damage and working to restore power to more than 495,000 Louisiana customers who are still without electricity. Roughly 29,000 of the company’s Mississippi customers are also without power.
According to NASDAQ, about 624,000 Louisianans and roughly 74,000 Mississippi homes and businesses are still without power.
For more of Neon Tommy's coverage on Hurricane Isaac, click here.