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Hurricane Ida ‘worst disaster’ area has seen, recovery will be ‘very difficult,’ parish president says

Facing a parish in shambles after Hurricane Ida tore parts of it to pieces, local leaders are urging residents to be patient and stay in a safe place if they can.

“Our community is devasted at this time,” St. John the Baptist Parish President Jaclyn Hotard said Tuesday. “And I would like to ask our residents, also, as everyone has said, if you can stay where you are, right now, please do so.

“Currently, the parish is without power, and we’re without water,” she said. “So where you currently are now, if you’re in a safe place with water and power, that’s probably the best place for you to be.”

Hotard said parish leaders were still assessing the infrastructure repairs needed to being restoring water and clearing roads.

“What we are experiencing right now is one the greatest disasters that, our governor and president, they both have said it, that they have ever seen,” she said. “This is going to be a marathon and not a sprint.”

Hotard said the recovery would not be easy, but that together the parish would rebuild.

“I know that we are a resilient group of people,” she said. “This is going to be very difficult, worst disaster that we have all seen in St. John Parish.”