One day out from Hurricane Delta, Iberia Parish and New Iberia leaders agree that the damage incurred locally was serious, but a far cry from the worst case scenario.
Iberia Parish President Larry Richard said the wind of Delta, which was largely the most problematic part of the hurricane, rose at 90 miles per hour when it breached the gulf and blew through Iberia Parish Friday evening.
“The water didn’t come as high as we predicted, but that’s fine,” Richard said Saturday afternoon. “I’d rather be overprepared than underprepared.”
The biggest problem that Iberia Parish residents as well as Iberia Parish Government will be contending with in the next few days will be utility outages. Richard said that 76.5 percent of Iberia Parish did not have power in their homes as of Saturday afternoon.
Cleco alone was working on 22,676 homes that had no power, and Entergy made up an additional 3,933 customers of their own experiencing no power.
“We cover a large portion of Cleco outages, but they did very well last time,” Richard said.
The parish president guessed that the utility pole and tree damage was exacerbated by the effects of Hurricane Laura a month ago. Many of those poles and trees were still leaning as a result of Laura, and the additional hurricane made them break off entirely.
“All in all, we did better than I anticipated,” Richard said. “It’s all about organization and planning, and I’m proud of our team. We can’t predict what’s going to happen but we can plan for it.”
In New Iberia, Mayor Freddie DeCourt also said the wind damage and ensuing downed trees and utility poles were the main problem being faced.
“We have trees down and power out like everybody else,” DeCourt said Saturday. “Our public works director was out this morning assessing the damage and picking up what he could.”
The Armenco pump station worked flawlessly for the West End, DeCourt said, and flooding concerns seemed to be minimal.
In Delcambre and the Port of Iberia, Richard said the flooded roadways that come with every hurricane were already minimizing due to tides going down early.
A curfew in Iberia Parish will be in effect from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. for emergency personnel and utility workers to continue the needed repairs.