Day 6 Update, Ida
ELECTRICITY: About 1/2 of the city has it. The City's responsibility was to clear the roads so CLECO could re-build the power lines. Public Works and Fire started before the winds died down last Monday. Pre-arranged crews began arriving Monday afternoon. By Tuesday we had 13 crews working. This allowed CLECO to come in on Wednesday with 50+ trucks. By my count, we have had 30 - 50 trucks each day, making headway.

WHAT ABOUT MINE?: I still have not found an accurate predictor of where and when electricity will return. I have noted it emanates from substations and their feeds. However, that's really not very helpful. Every day someone gets juice and others don't. That stoppage line is an unpleasant mystery.

SEWER LIFT STATIONS have been a major challenge since last Thursday. Our sewer collection system is not designed to run days on end without electricity. Of our 68 lift stations, the larger ones all have generators. We have been rotating four large, portable generators throughout the mid-size stations. These are not household generators and require an electrician to make the connection plus a city employee to monitor the well while it runs. Last report this afternoon we were down to only 27 stations not having full electric power. Hopefully that number will drop when CLECO flips the repair switch this afternoon. If there is a sewer backup in your neighborhood, we (the City) cannot tell you to open the cleanout in your yard. Good Note: The sewer plant got off of generator power yesterday.

BOIL WATER ADVISORY remains in place as a precaution. As long as the City's water wells are on generator power, protocol is we maintain a boil water advisory. Should a generator go down that would lead to a drop in pressure and possible contamination. To date, there has been no reports of contamination nor any pressure drops.

GARBAGE PICK-UP is a rotten mess. Due to the local and national labor shortage and spike in Covid, Coastal was struggling to get Commercial Licensed Drivers and hoppers (the guys on the back of the truck that hop on and off) before the storm. This is why we temporarily suspended recycling. I visited with their competitors and found them to be in the same situation. Coastal lost more drivers due to storm damage. I was pleasantly surprised when Coastal showed up last Wednesday to get what they could. I was told prior-to that they would not get it all, but would return for missed pick-ups on Saturday. Saturday came and only one driver … who had not been to Covington before … made it. Their track record indicates we should get a full sweep come Wednesday. I will continue to push, prod, nudge, smile and complain.

RELIEF AID is showing up in many different forms. The priority for most agencies has been south central Louisiana. We are fortunate to have grocery stores open, streets we can drive on and, for most of us, a roof over our head. Various churches and businesses are providing supplies. Big one at Claiborne Hill tomorrow from 9:00am to 1:00pm.

FUEL SHORTAGE appears to be abating. Many stations had gasoline today with relatively short lines. Let's hope it stay that way.
Crisis Clean-Up Hotline
I met this morning with a Crisis Clean-up team. Near 1,000 volunteers are in the area. If tree is on or in a house, have homeowner call the hotline. They will be interviewed and their needs will be shared on a map which is then shared among all nonprofits working in the area.

If a nonprofit wants to help, they will choose the job. This is not repair work, but help securing the roof & clean up.

The hygene-packages offered by the Church of Latter Day Saints includes a comb.

I had a comb in the 90's.

To Be Grateful
An acquaintance was in bed last Sunday night. This pine tree cuts through his roof and its branches scrape his leg. The tree trapped him in the bed. My friend, Albert's, house caught the top of the tree on the backside and kept it from slicing through the house. Today this acquaintance sits in his front yard, visiting like always with passers-by. I am still in awe there were no major injuries or fatalities in the storm.

It's been one week since Ida approached. Give Thanks for what we have and how far we've come. Yes, we have sewer lift station challenges, the water wells still operate on generators, 1/2 the city doesn't have power, garbage pick-up is a mess and it's hot … and yet we have so much for which to be grateful.
Debris Pile Removal Begins Next Week
Residents who are putting debris on the curb should put it on the back side of drainage ditches and away from catch basins and mailboxes.

Separate green debris (trees, limbs, leaves) from white goods, electronics from construction / demolition materials.

Do not bag green materials / leaves.

As I am fond of saying, we (residents of Covington) live in a forest. The wooded parts of Covington took a whacking in the storm. Folks in-the-not so wooded areas might not quite comprehend how severe it was.

Whatever, here's a little history on a not-so-wooded section of town : )
NW Corner Boston and Columbia Street
Today: The Patecek Building
Then: The Patecek Building
as the Frank Patecek Store
Today, we (the City), have a problem with traffic. The streets of downtown were laid out almost 100 years (1813) before the invention of the automobile. The streets of New Covington (from St. Tammany Parish Hospital to Collins Blvd.) were laid out in 1887. During the early 20th century cars were small and rare (see nighttime picture above). Today almost 15,000 people drive into and out of Covington each weekday.
We now have reached a point where there are more vehicles than street.
Patience is a virtue.
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Rooted in History, Focused on the Future
City of Covington | Website