tv The Price of Freedom CNN August 29, 2021 6:00pm-8:00pm PDT
i'm pamela brown in washington. welcome to the breaking news coverage. new orleans and the surrounding parish is completely without power tonight hours after hurricane ida slammed into louisiana just shy of category 5. ida has been every bit the monster feared. it was officially tied for the strongest storm to hit the state with sustained winds at landfall of 115 miles an hour. that is even stronger than katrina, which hit 16 years ago today. it's too early to assess ida's huge swath of damage, but the wrecking power is obvious.
just look at this video here on your screen. flooding is wide spread. and some areas could see up to 20 inches of rain. more than 700,000 homes and businesses are now without power. and that number is sure to climb. officials say it could take weeks to fully restore power. now within the next hour or two, new orleans will be seeing its highest winds and heaviest rain. the levee system was vastly upgraded after katrina and holding as of now. south of the city, the rainfall and storm surge have pushed water over our levee in plaquemines parish. a flash flood emergency is in effect. i spoke to a critical care doctor in baton rouge bracing for the worst. >> we would be able to be the most significant event of our lifetime. we currently have a full hospital, but we're the regional medical center and so we are essentially acting that role. we have over 700 providers in
the hospital. 50 of those are physicians. 400 are nurses. 300 are non-clinical. we're split into two staffs. we will do one shift during the day, one shift at night and alternate until we're able to get through this. we're also becoming very concerned about our southern most neighbors. the hospitals that are already in the path here of ida are demonstrating some failures whether that's roofs or whether it's generators. >> and joining me now to further discuss is louisiana governor john bell edwards. thank you for joining us, governor. what can you tell us about the power situation in new orleans parish? >> well, it tough all over southeast louisiana and about 45 minutes ago, it was reported that the entirety of orleans parish went out. there is still isolated places with generators and the turbines are still working to operate the
pumps but the entire parish of orleans went out in terms of the power that's being provided there. but that's true for most of the southeast louisiana. we're up to getting close to 800,000 outages. not unexpected when you have winds that come in at 150 miles per hour. and so this storm, as you mentioned, is everything that was advertised in terms of the wind, in terms of the storm surge and quite frankly, the rain that's falling, as well. so this is a very devastating storm. >> yeah, in fact, last hour i spoke with the president in jefferson parish and she told me people were reporting water up to their chest inside their homes. what is your reaction to that? >> yeah, well, i mean, it's a very serious event and the good news is, you know, you look for good news where you can find it. our levee systems are holding up remarkably well. the hurricane risk reduction
system that provides protection to the most populated portions of orleans and jefferson parish have held up. there is no over topping. most of the levees south in lafourche even have held up very well. you mentioned an isolated area down in plaquemine's parish on the east bank. that area that happens quite frequently with storms. so that one was not unexpected and that area had been under mandatory evacuation order since thursday. this is a very serious storm. i'm not sure where the president was referring to in terms of where the house with water up to someone's chest, but i'll try to call her and figure that out after i get off this program. >> yeah, and on that note, i mean, what about rescue operations? you have residents calling in. what's going on on that front? >> well, quite frankly, when you
are at the hieeight of a hurricane, you can't get first responders out because it's just simply too dangerous. the wind speeds don't allow for that and the other hazards associated with the hurricane was just as soon as we possibly can, we will be engaged in a very robust search and rescue operation. you know, the entire national guard is activated. we've got search and rescue assets staged across 14 parishes with the national guard. 195 high water vehicles, 73 boats. we have 34 helicopters ready to fly in the morning but our urban search and rescue, we got over 900 additional people there with 21 teams that actually are comprised of teams coming from 15 different states and so just as soon as the weather will allow, we're going to get out and do search and rescue but this is why we tell people that they need to be prepared to ride out the storm and be able to
make it for the first 72 hours if at all possible just to make sure that they can do that while we engage in our search and rescue and of course, we're very optimistic that nobody is going to have to wait 72 hours for someone to respond to the call. but we won't know more until the sun comes up. >> you've been warning residents how dire this will be andi it's turning out to be the monster you advertised. where do you think louisiana is with this storm? it hit landfall this morning and still packing a powerful punch in new orleans and else where? >> it hasn't even reached interstate 10 that connects new orleans and baton rouge. it lost forward speed. it started knuckleballing
around, if you will, when it got inland to about homa and started moving forward as fast as it had been but it hasn't gotten to i-10 yet. we know for example that the northshore area is going to get pounded a little later, north of lake pontchartrain up through livingston to st. tammany parish and the rain and wind is going to be huge and could be those 20, 24 inches that were advertised in those areas. the heaviest rainfall is along the track off to the east but i will tell you, nobody is out of the woods in southeast louisiana yet and we'll be dealing with this hurricane until sometime well after midnight. >> and we should note again remind our viewers this is all happening on the 16th anniversary of hurricane katrina. tragic reminder of how often your state deals with these kinds of natural disasters. what is your message to the
people of louisiana right now? >> first of all, in many respects, we're a different state, stronger and better prepared. there are $14 billion invested in the protection system around orleans, jefferson parish and elsewhere and you can see the lights are flickering here. but we're better prepared now in terms of that protection system but when you have mother nature throw at you a storm this strong with the surge, the wind, the rain that we are talking about with hurricane ida, there is going to be devastating impacts and we have to do everything we can to save lives in the immediate response and we'll get to the property repairs later but i can tell you for several days, we're going to be engaged in search and rescue both the primary search, the secondary searches and so forth and we're going to be in this for the long haul, the people of louisiana are good and resilient people
and i can tell you we'll get through this. >> the lights flicker where you are in baton rouge on the other side of the screen, we were showing new orleans where the power is down. all the power is down in new orleans so we're going to go to a reporter on the ground but governor john bell edwards, thank you for bringing us the latest in your state. >> thank you, pamela. let's take you there to new orleans. we're seeing the video now. it a city in the dark. brian todd is there. what can you tell us, brian? >> reporter: well, pamela, the power is completely out in new orleans. we just got word from the new orleans department of homeland security and emergency preparedness the city is completely dark because they had what they call a catastrophic transmission damage to some of the transformers and some other power sources there. the city is completely dark. i can actually show that to you and step aside to your left, my right. i'll step aside in the photo journalist jake is going to throw the camera down. bourbon street. the only reason you see anything
beyond me is because jake's light is shining light down bourbon street. there is a larger building with lights at the top of it that has to be generated power. the only buildings that have any power now are doing so by a generator and that, of course, in and of itself as we've been reporting, that brings dangers in and of itself because according to louisiana state officials last year when hurricane laura came through here, they had 25 deaths as a result of that storm. out of those 25, nine of them were because of carbon monoxide poisoning, people not using, it gets harder to venture out. careful how we use generators. we're told the eye of the storm has very recently made the closest pass that it's going to make to new orleans. it was about 20, 25 miles south south west of new orleans.
that's -- >> brian, i'm just going to cut in because we were having trouble hearing you right now, which is just a sign of what is going on there on the ground in new orleans where you are where it's really getting the worst part of the storm right now since it made landfall. brian todd, thank you very much live for us on the scene of new orleans where the city is completely without power. the only way you have power in that city is through a generator. >> just moments ago, i spoke to cynthia lee a jefferson parish president south of new orleans and she gave us a very disturbing update about the rising water there. i want you to hear how she describes it. >> right now my concern is we've lost contact with grand isle so that is the island right on the gulf of mexico that i've been very, very concerned about. we lost contact with them. we've not been able to reach them so i don't know what they're going through. and then closer up here, still outside the hurricane protection system an area called lafitte, the water is rising.
people are in their homes and we're getting reports of people with water up to their chest they're asking to be rescued. very, very dark situation and we just can't get out yet. >> that is dire. what else are you hearing from people calling in? i mean, that is horrific. >> it is horrific. the electrical grid is almost out. we're probably 95% out of electricity. we were a very large transmission tower came down and set a lot of the community. we're getting reports of roof damage, roofs, trees down, tree roots pulling up and damaging water mains. so now our water pressure is going down. so, you know, we're also responding to an assisted actually a condo where there is elderly people living there and their roof partially collapsed. trying to get them out to a church across the street. so it is very, very busy here and we're -- we just can't respond yet.
>> right. i mean, so what are you doing in these cases when you get a call like that with these senior citizens or the person who has water up to their chest. what can you do? >> people just, you know, i got a text from a friend of mine and she said a tree fell on her neighbor's house. she wants the neighbors to come to her house but said she can't walk outside right now. the winds are so heavy and high. we can't get out. we were able to get a fire chief over to the assisted living center to see what it's like. it not a dire situation. but they do have water in the building that's on the first floor. there is some type of collapse that is having water intrusion. so the real situation i think is very dire. it's the water that is rising in the areas of lower lafitte. >> cnn jason carroll is in houma, louisiana not far from where the storm made landfall. what is going on there right
now? >> reporter: believe it or not, pamela, it's actually much better now than it was just even an hour ago. the winds have definitely died down compared to what we saw an hour ago and an hour before that. i want to give you an update in terms of what we're seeing and what we're hearing about damage in the area because, you know, we've been experiencing these high winds for several hours now just being pounded here in houma by the hurricane and so the question is what is happening out there? it's tough to see from our vantage point because when it was daylight, visibility was low but we were hearing reports from the sheriff's department for example was telling us they were starting to receive calls from folks saying they were losing the roof. we heard about power lines being down. let me give you an example of what we did. we were able to take a cursory tour from the area where we are now about a half a mile away is the houma power station and the folks who were sort of there who
are waiting out this storm there lost part of the side of the building. there was some damage to the side of the building. they said there was damage to the roof and so what they did was they left that building and then sought shelter where you can see the lights behind me. that's the houma civic center. so they went there to seek shelter, but when they were there at that civic center, part of the civic center's roof was blown off during the worst of the hurricane, as well. there were two structures behind me there with those lights. both of those buildings there lost part of the roof. we drove over there and saw that. that's just a quick example just in this immediate area of some of the damage that we are already seeing. emergency crews telling those folks who have been calling them saying hey, we've lost part of the roof. the sheriff saying they are unable to get to those people now. they're going to have to wait until the storm really dies down until they're able to see what's out there on the roads before they can make their way out to
really get an assessment of the damage. it's already very clear from what we've seen that houma took a really big hit from hurricane ida. pamela? >> you experienced it firsthand, jason. earlier today you were standing one place and you moved and a tree fell where you were standing. that shows you how dangerous the conditions are there. thank you for bringing us the latest on the ground. right now a group of private boat owners calling themselves the cajun navy. their president todd joins us in a moment. you're live on the cnn newsroom. we'll be right back.
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gulf coast rest idents are bracing. life threatening flash flooding and devastating winds have taken hold on the area as the dangerous storm plows inland. winds of 120 miles per hour are battering homes and businesses as we speak. making it one of the most powerful storms to ever strike the region. phone lines are down in parts of louisiana. you have hurricane forced winds that continue to move through southern louisiana along with heavy rain producing flash flooding. hundreds of thousands along the gulf coast have evacuated but millions more decided to ride out the storm in their homes and an army of private citizens that
call themselves the cajun navy is mobilizing to help anyone that needs to be rescued. watch what a volunteer witnessed as ida made landfall. >> it's so bad right now, y'all. holy [ bleep ]. i glot to get out of here. as bad as i'd like to, y'all. this boat is in trouble. he's leaning. >> joining me now is todd terrell, the president of the united cajun navy. thanks for joining us. this morning you said on cnn this storm was making you nervous. how are you feeling now that it's made landfall? >> well, the main thing that's making me nervous right now even more so is it's continued to
keep its strength once it got to land. i don't think anybody thought it would stay as strong of a category as it is. it is relendless. it not given up. we are really catching the devil here and seems like it will be this way through the night. >> your mission is to try to help people but you have a powerful storm that is moving slowly over louisiana and it's night fall there. so what are you able to actually do right now? >> well, you know, we have guys coming in from all over the country and right now we're trying to cut our way into houma and go south. there is a lot of people trapped down there. the problem is a lot of power lines across the road and stuff. we have airboats going in. one of the main needs we have right now is high octane fuel for airboats. the airboats take 90 plus octane fuel so we're having trouble finding that now. it's dire. people are in homes with kids,
handicap, elderly with no roof and the weather is plummeting good. we'll do the best we can into the night to get into some of them. >> if you would, paint a fuller picture of what you're hearing. you described it there. you said people are trapped in their homes. can you bring us into the situation more? >> a lot of people wasn't expecting this. a lot of people's roofs flew off the house and they have kids. we can't get to them. the water is high on the road or the power lines are down. for the first time in my life we're having to tell everybody to hunker down. old school is grab a mattress and get in the bathtub or center of your house and it's been hundreds of people we had to tell that to today. we can't get to them. >> how does that make you feel? >> well, you know, 16 years ago today was katrina and a lot of us suffered a lot of lose personally with that. so it's just kind of like deja vu here again. we were talking earlier to general russell and him and i
worked together during katrina 16 years ago. it is just surreal. we look around and we're seeing total destruction and we really haven't been able to see it because it's dark but we know we wake up in the morning it will be levelled to where we're at. >> if you even go to sleep tonight. how do you think ida compares to katrina? you mentioned today is the 16-year anniversary. >> i think when it's all said and done, this storm is going to have more wide spread damage than katrina. we've yet to see what is going on in new orleans. metery and a little south where there is a lot of flooding. unfortunately, it's nighttime and we can't asses that damage right now yet. i think it's going to be as bad or worse on a bigger scale. you know, this is devastating and the caulls we got today, thy were desperate. it will be a long time for louisiana to recover. >> what is your biggest concern right now, todd? is it the rain? is it the winds? is it the combo?
is really striking the fear for you right now? >> the fear for us is -- well, we've been preparing for two years with covid. right now, some of the people we're picking up it's like i'm in a hotel now with no power and the rain is coming down. some of the people brought in, there is no covid protocol. we try to do the best we can with masks and temperature checks but my biggest fear we are bringing people into an environment we could have problems later on. unfortunately, you have to consider saving a life first. so right now, it's just we worried. it a big worry to everything. we have covid. we have the storm devastating people and there is nowhere for people to go. >> there is nowhere for people to go. you have the hospitals over crowded with covid patients that can't evacuate patients. you said you've been preparing for this. how has your organization been preparing for the devastation this storm is likely to bring to the state in the gulf f ccoast. we still don't know the scope of
the damage and this storm is very powerful still. >> i'm in springfield, louisiana because our home base is baton rouge and right now, we're getting plummeted. i don't think we'll get much of a storm as we could have over here. but i think when it's all said and done, you know, it's going to be as bad or worse than katrin kat katrina on a wide spread scale. people are wet. they have been wet all day and when you get wet, you get sick. you get the sniffles and stuff. so we're seeing people right now that we're picking up and they are sniffling and we're not sure if they are wet or have covid. the big concern right now with the secondary is covid, honest. right now, we have nowhere to bring these people. we were prepared because we have supplies. we have tons of food, snacks, water, gatorade that we store in warehouses ready to go but at this stage right now, we were not prepared for this type of destruction and even on our scale of having supplies, i'm worried.
>> you have all these people calling and needing help but you can't help them right now. it's too dangerous. thank you for all you and your organization are doing to help in this very powerful storm. >> it's a mess. thank y'all. >> as we were just talking about with it'd, hurricane ida packs a punch as it moves across louisiana. i'm going to talk to the mayor of lafayette, parish. there is a curfew now as the storm passes.
in new orleans, the power is completely out after what's being called catastrophic transmission damage and the worst may be yet to come for the city. a city we're used to seeing full of life, not tonight. hours after making landfall, ida remains a category 3 storm. well, the storm's eye just west of new orleans and spawned a tornado watch for eastern louisiana and stretching into portions of southern mississippi, alabama and the florida panhandle. and as night falls, people in the path of ida have had little chance to assess the damage and we'll have to wait until the morning. we have no idea how far the devastation goes. the hurricane came to shore with 150 mile per hour winds and then it slowed to a crawl. all the while continuing to
pummel louisiana for hours on end and these are pictures from golden meadow earlier today. i want to go straight to the cnn weather center for a reset of what is going on with tom sater. you have the power of the storm. you have slow speed. that is really hurting louisiana right now. >> yeah, that's been our concern all along. that the power and force of this this little cannon ball is more compact. again, the power of this, get this, some of those darker colors, but we're still seeing winds drop 115 miles per hour category 3. for five hours today, the state of category 4 status inland is twice as long as hurricane laura last year kept its power. it's twice as long as hurricane michael that devastated mexico beach kept its power. central daylight time before noon, here we are at 8:30 it's only moved 60 miles.
shoutout to the men and women that work at the national hurricane center before this was even named, they had a beat on this storm. they knew the intensity in the different stages and had that cone of uncertainty across areas of louisiana. it didn't deviate much. they save aid will the of lives and gave good lead time for power crews and evacuations to take place. now, why do we always hype the difference between a category two or three? it's not what you think when it comes to damage. you know, you have a category one, winds at 75 miles per hour. damage. it's just a little greater category 2. no. you can't think of it linear. it's logrythmic. winds at 150 miles per hour. it's not just category 4. it's 256 times the amount of damage that category 1 would provide. again, it's staggering when you think of that. let's look at all of the flash flood warnings that are in
effect. we have florida over toward hamilton, harrison, as well. get toward st. tamry are in a flash flood warning. these bands are significant. you see the amount of rain increase as the forward motion progresses but outer bands are not moving much. the training of the showers and storms, one after another will cause wide spread problems. power outages. all right. areas of red. they are wide spread and we're already now starting to see them in parts of mississippi. so the number is growing every hour and will continue to go through the night. you can see all these areas of red baton rouge, areas down towards slidell. we thought we would have a tornado move toward slidell. the radar is just to the north of there. they were under a warning for awhile. but this tornado watch is in effect until 6:30 in the morning and the darkness of night. so this is not going away. do we have one? we do. right there st. tamry. you can see it just to the northeast of new orleans.
the center of the storm now, pam, is 30 miles to the west. it will split the needle between baton rouge and new orleans but these bands are quite heavy. the heavy rainfall will continue through the night up through the ohio valley into new england. when a storm is strong enough and large enough and creates a lot of damage, it is retired and never to be used again. there is not a letter in the alphabet that has more retired names than the letter i. isabelle, irene, ivan, ike, ida will go on this list. no doubt about it. typically, the letter i storm happens around the 4th of october. we are way ahead of schedule, pam, and if you didn't know it, today we got j. julian. not a worry. fish storm up to the north but we got a wave off the coast of africa. the hits keep on coming. let's hope they stop coming to louisiana. peak of the season is around the 10th of september. it's going to be a long season. >> what you just laid out there,
tom, is very ominous. tom sater, thank you for bringing us the latest. joining me is the mayor, president of lafayette, louisiana which lies northwest of new orleans. thanks for joining us. tell me what you're seeing now. what is going on there in lafayette? >> good evening, pamela. thanks for having us on. what we thought would happen in lafayette is what baton rouge is experiencing right now and our hearts and prayers are going to our friends in new orleans. i'm seeing the reports like everybody else. i'm tuning into the conference calls and briefings like other mayors across our state and presence across our state. mayor broom and all the mayors and first responders in these areas have our thoughts and prayers and resources once this thing finally passes us. so right now we're seeing is just some intense winds not nearly what we expected in lafayette. lafayette is about 70 miles west of baton rouge. we're not getting the winds or rain that we thought we would get but still taking it very serious.
we're getting gusts of tropical storm type winds and that's serious. we have a curfew here in lafayette and it's a little extra sensitive in this particular storm because we have so many of our neighbors evacuating new orleans, baton rouge, southeast louisiana on i-10, interstate 10 and highway 90 going north on i-49 and they go through our city. it puts a little extra strain on the first responders. this tropical storm gust winds and heavy winds can come out of nowhere and doesn't take much to knock down a tree on a power line or house or road and we have to keep these roadways clear for the first responders to respond. >> as you pointed out, you have a curfew in place until 7:00 a.m. tomorrow. are most people heeding that order? >> right now, yes. it doesn't take much enforcement because we've been through this so much. we had several tropical events last year. this year, you know, we're not starting off too well with ida but our people are very
accustomed to hurricanes and tropical storms and usually when civilian leaders issue guidance, it's compiled with. >> thank you so much. thank you for joining the show. best of luck as hurricane ida continues to pummel louisiana. everyone warned ida would be a punishing hurricane. the governor urged people to evacuate. some parishes issued eva evacwaevacwuation orders but still some stayed. i spoke to a houma resident holly that is sorry she didn't follow those evacuation orders. >> oh my gosh, i wish i would have evacuated. i kid you not. it's not worth it. it's very scary. i can't tell people enough when you have the opportunity to evacuate, you should do it and, you know, especially here in louisiana because, you know, when i first moved here 11 years ago, hurricane season ended in october and now it ends in november. so i mean, it's just one thing
after another. and this is very, very scary. very scary. >> we hope to check back in with her to see how she's doing but in the meantime, many louisiana hospitals are already over run with covid patients and one of the least covid vaccinated states in the country. earlier i talked with a baton rouge critical care physician about handling this new wave of medical emergencies. >> we will use every bed available that we can to help those in the storm and we will take our cues from the state when necessary. over the next several hours and through the night, however, we're going to be concerned about the patients in our hospital as we expect now really significant winds and we would have liked for the storm to pick up in pace and move quickly through our area but it does not appear it will happen. >> you have a hospital packed with covid-19 patients. what is the feeling like in the hospital among staff and among
the patients? >> i think the patients have normal trepidation as it's a hurricane. i think the staff here in louisiana, particularly in this hospital, we know hurricanes and so this part actually may feel a little bit more normal although scary and that we prepare every year for this. it's a drill we do. so it is odd to say that maybe the hurricane part of it feels a little bit more like normal business in august and september than covid does but adding the two together is definitely stressful and we worry about our oxygen supply and others but like i said, we've done a really good job of preparing for an event like this. >> and we should note that louisiana is not the only state feeling ida's power right now. the storm is moving through neighboring mississippi as well and the mayor of hatties burg joins me next.
punishing the coast with sustained winds of 120 miles per hour and slowed down. what that means is it increases flooding potential. now at this hour, catastrophic storm surge extreme winds and flash flooding continue in parts of southeastern louisiana. new orleans is under a flash flood emergency and completely out of power. the only electricity is now coming from generators there. energy louisiana says some customers could be without power for weeks. the mayor of hattiesburg, what is your biggest worry right now? >> right now we're an hour and a half north of new orleans and the mississippi gulf coast and so certainly we think about our communities on the coast now dealing with the worst of it. but for us, when we think of we'll probably face our toughest times between midnight, 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. particularly now that it's slowed down. flash flooding is always an issue in our city so when you
put potentially 8, 10 inches of water on the roadways, in a short amount of time that's going to cause problems. we're fortunate that it's going to happen the time of day we shouldn't have a lot of people out anyway but when you also have wind gusts of 45 to 65 miles per hour with rain, you're probably going to see downed trees and power lines and we hope everyone will take care. we know that both our hospitals are already attica capacity bec of covid and we need everyone tonight to make good decisions. >> what is going on now? how many people are without power? are people calling into 911 asking for help? >> the worst has not got to us. our window is between midnight and 6:00 and 7:00 a.m. getting most of the rain and wind and we expect that will be when conditions deteriorate. >> you're expecting the worst overnight you're saying. what is your biggest fear when you wake up in the morning and
it's daylight? >> well, obviously, people try to get out and hopefully, people will stay home in the early morning hours but if we get trees on houses and power outages, we really want people just to take care and make good decisions and not get out on the road way and risk injury and over taxing an already stretched hospital system. we hope people will just make good decisions tonight and stay off the roads and hopefully we will limit the number of downed trees and hope that works out. >> okay. well, we certainly hope it works out, as well. mayor toby barker, thanks for joining the show. hurricane ida is leaving a path of destruction tomorrow. the difficult task of cleaning up and moving on begins. in fact, we don't even know the extent of the damage right now. jeff jose andres will be here after this break. he's helping feed those trying to rebuild and joins me from new orleans up next.
we are tracking the very latest with hurricane ida reporting from the storm's path earlier this afternoon. >> reporter: these are literally scenes of my worst nightmares. we are staring down the eye of a monster category 4 hurricane. it is unleashing its fury on louisiana as we speak. i have to continue to peer behind me because a large tree
has just fallen down and i want to make sure it doesn't travel this way. what you can't see here to my right and directly to my left is that i do have protection between this concrete building but this is what it's like to ride out a category 4 hurricane. it is extreme. it is loud and literally feeling like a million pin bricks battering my face as the gusts come through. we've had intermittent internet connection here so we don't know how close we are to the eyewall but my guess is ten minutes from the strongest part of hurricane ida. you have to feel for the people here and just talking to some of the residents who decided to evacuate to the hotel where we are at and they have told us they are pleased that it is at least a hurricane making landfall during the day because
they fear for the residents who did not come to these shelters, these hotels, and are riding this out in their homes. if it was dark, this would be an absolute, catastrophic disaster for these people to live through something like this. we at least have the safety of a building in front of us. jim? >> absolutely. we're glad you're taking those precautions. derek, since you've been there all afternoon, does it feel like things have progressively gotten worse to this point? are these the most intense effects of the storm that you felt so far? >> reporter: yes, this is without a doubt the strongest part of the storm we've felt so far. >> wow. >> just let these visuals play out. the reason i can stand here is only because of this concrete wall to my left. i am literally seeing trees
topple over behind me. we've got trees on top of vehicles in our parking lot. we have no power here. we're running off of this vehicle's ac generated power. we're thankful we have it. every once in a while some of the strongest wind gusts take and knock this suburban, large suv, up and down. you can see that rocking motion just because of the pure strength of the wind. i'm not a particularly tall or heavy man. 5'10", 150 pounds. maybe a bit too much information for our viewers but let me tell you why that is important. because without the protection from this wall here if i stepped ten feet behind me this small little man would be knocked on his -- >> that sums it up what it was like earlier there in homa. it is nightfall now in
louisiana. the storm is still powerful, moving very slowly across the state. right now the flash flood emergency has been declared in new orleans. all of new orleans parish is without power after catastrophic transmission damage. that is according to the city. but major relief is on the way once the storm subsides. as one group is on the ground with enough food to serve more than 100,000 meals. chef jose andres joins me now. he is the founder of world central kitchen organization and has been a very busy man. he went from haiti to there to new orleans and louisiana. chef, thanks for joining us. how are conditions where you are right now? are you safe? >> yes, i am very safe. i'm here in the hotel downtown in the french quarter. i just came out from watching all the rain hitting so hard. for now, many hours, very big winds.
so, yes. everybody is safe. obviously the best place to be is in a very big building downtown like new orleans. right now as we know all of of the city is without any electricity. the hotels have generators and we can be able to communicate with you in the middle of this huge hurricane. >> which is pretty remarkable, right? so you point out that in the parish right now, new orleans parish, if you have power it is because of the backup generators. how is that impacting you and your mission there? >> well, obviously what we do is we make sure we have kitchens with food, with generators, so as soon as the hurricane goes away we are always able to start cooking and, more important, cooking with distribution. we saw president biden announce already more than 2.5 million
meals between different organizations. obviously fema and the many other ngos going in here in new orleans and across louisiana to make sure in terms of food and water people will be taken care of. but without electricity and they announced we may be not only days but in some parts weeks it will impact things. but having generators helps organizations like ours to have functional kitchens and we make sure we can start delivering food to the many people that are going to be in need of a meal. >> how do you plan to deliver the food? when do you plan to do that? >> let me put it this way. when you start planning too much, things don't go as you planned. for us we always say the best is adaptation. we are already trying to see what -- how we'll have to adapt.
no two hurricanes are equal. that means we'll have to be seeing all the different possibilities. we have foot tracks coming in that they -- food trucks coming in and they will be helpful to us to position them strategically so we can be delivering food quicker. we already have a fully functional kitchen and tomorrow morning as soon as it is safe our teams will go out and start making meals and delivering to the different places that will be in need to do that. more importantly, we need to be planning ahead not only for the days but for weeks. we'll keep -- how we'll keep this city fed and the entire state of louisiana fed. >> as i mentioned, you just left haiti which was ravaged by a major earthquake and in new orleans dealing not only with building damage but potential flooding and you also have a pandemic going on. in all of those conditions how difficult are the logistics of distributing a hundred thousand meals? >> really the main thing we saw
in the pandemic times, on the first of february in 2020 in yokohama when the first cruise ship with covid cases was showing up, and since then we've never stopped. at one point we were doing close to 400,000 meals a day, not only in america, but also in the middle of fires, earthquakes, explosions like the one in lebanon, beirut. the earthquake, we saw obviously in haiti. we have teams in all those places and the difficulty is that in the old days we'd make big trays of 40, 50 meals. but then we can be doing tens of thousands of meals a day. during the pandemic we began for obvious reasons of the health code doing meals individually. right now we feel more safe and can deliver the trays again and it simplifies the process of feeding mass quantities of people. obviously we need to do that making sure our teams are safe and, more important, the people we deliver the food to are also
safe. and so it doesn't become a problem on top of the problem >> i want to ask you a personal k question before we let you go, chef. this has been a particularly difficult year and you've seen so much human suffering. you went to india during the peak of the covid crisis there. you just left haiti. now you're in new orleans. what is that like for you emotionally seeing all the suffering up close and personal? >> listen, once we make a decision we make the decision a plate of food is the beginning of a better tomorrow. we try to do specifically that. in india we were in 17 cities feeding more than 85 hospitals because the systems were breaking down. people were not going to work to the kitchens. that is why organizations like this had to step up and start covering all those needs. for me, i'm a cook that feeds a few. like many other chefs not only in america but around the world. and for us to be of service and
helping people in a moment of need is probably the best call and the best thing we can do. so, again, one plate of food at a time doesn't solve every problem but at least it brings relief in real time as quick as we can so we can start thinking always about reconstruction. >> jose andres, thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you for having me. and i'm pamela brown in washington. you are in the cnn newsroom on this sunday evening. it is busy tonight. we are in breaking news coverage. hurricane ida has plunged new orleans and the entire surrounding parish into complete darkness. power outages blanked the besieged state of louisiana. we'll have more on that in a moment. the storm slammed ashore just shy of a category five storm.
>> oh, my gosh. go! >> ida is officially tied for the strongest storm ever to hit the state, sustained winds, landfall, 150 miles an hour. that is even stronger than katrina which hit 16 years ago today. it is too early to assess damage but the wrecking power is obvious. just look at this video right here. flooding is widespread and some areas could see up to 20 inches of rain. more more than 700,000 homes and businesses are without power. the number is sure to climb and officials say it could take weeks to fully restore power. new orleans will see its highest winds and heaviest rain soon. the city is under a flash flood emergency right now. the levee system there was vastly upgraded after katrina and is holding. the rainfall and storm surge have pushed water over a levee in plaquemines parish. a flash flood emergency is in effect as we mentioned earlier. residents are urged to seek higher ground. a lot of people have been calling in fearing for their
lives. earlier, i spoke with a critical care doctor in baton rouge who was bracing for the worst. >> we believe it will probably be the most significant event of our lifetime. we currently have a full hospital but we are the regional medical center. we are essentially acting that role. we have over 700 providers in the hospital. 50 of those are physicians. 400 are nurses. 300 are nonclinical. we are split into two staffs. we will do one shift during the day, one shift at night. we will alternate until we are able to get through this. we're also becoming very concerned about our southern most neighbors, the hospitals that are already in the path here of ida are demonstrating some failures, whether that is roofs or generators. >> cnn's brian todd is on the line from new orleans. is there any hope of the power
being restored soon? >> reporter: well, it is not clear, pamela. it doesn't look great at this hour. this was a catastrophic power failure due to a load imbalance we're told by officials. they're trying to address this and rectify it as soon as possible but first they have to assess where the source of the failure was. this was a transmission failure of catastrophic proportions is what we're told. the city is in complete darkness. i'm standing on bourbon street right now. it is complete darkness as the rain continues to pound here. that's what is frightening to a lot of people. now, there aren't many people out. it is very peaceful on the street. you know, this is cause for concern because obviously when it's pitch black outside and people don't know about the water level possibly rising, then they get concerned and can't see much down their street, much less anywhere else. so that is a big concern. as you mentioned, there is a flash flood emergency in place until i believe midnight local
time tonight and about 20 communities of new orleans and the south shore area where we are in the french quarter there's been some flooding but i have to say it hasn't been too bad. the french quarter is on one of the higher, you know, one of the higher elevations here in the new orleans area. so it was not expected to see a lot of flooding. as you mentioned the levees are holding well. the storm surge isn't necessarily the issue. it is the continuing, pounding rainfall. this area could get between 15 to 20 inches of rain. this is an area already basically set records before this. new orleans averages 62 inches of rain a year already. but before the storm hit they had 65 inches and we hadn't even been through august yet. so this is going to set all sorts of records. and it is entering into a very concerning period here in new orleans for the next several hours. >> right. as new orleans is under the flash flood emergency. thanks for bringing us the latest there. in recorded history louisiana has never been hit by a
hurricane stronger than ida. joining us now on the line is louisiana's lieutenant governor. thank you so much for joining us. you have so much experience dealing with these storms over the years. you are in baton rouge now. where is your focus in the state right now as the storm slowly moves across it? >> obviously as the stronger part of the storm approaches baton rouge this area of the state has never seen a category 2. usually they die out before they get this far north. and a lot of the homes and structures and mobile homes in this area have never been tested. and so there may be some major failures in these homes in this area that have not been tested by a hurricane before. you know, hearing that transmission problem in new orleans is just another punch in the gut for new orleans at a time when businesses were struggling with covid and shut
down. to see that delayed maybe weeks of getting back open, the french quarter and people back in town is just another blow. so this thing is going to be measured for years. we always talked about before and after katrina. this will be a new set in history that we will gauge further storms on. >> are you getting a sense of the scope of damage across the state from ida? >> well, i just got word, a report a little while ago, that a community on the west bank of plaquemines parish has been inundated with 3 to 4 feet of water. those homes have flooded a few times since katrina in a couple storms, so that's really tough for those people that just have gotten back after flooding two or three times from hurricanes to know that that community is also under water again. those are the kinds of things -- we are still rebuilding in lake
charles from the last storm. and to have another one hit so strong and so widespread is going to take a lot of work to come back. >> you and other officials in louisiana have been warning residents about this storm. there was strong language ahead of it saying it could make parts of louisiana uninhabitable. has there been anything so far about this storm that has surprised you that maybe you weren't expecting to be so bad? >> the high winds. when you see the boats and the vessels like corks bouncing around out of venice and the barges floating around the mississippi river, the amount of wind that has broken those vessels loose and then just tossing them around like small toys, we haven't seen anything like that since katrina. and the massive destruction of buildings, you know, down in
grand isle, not only the tidal surge but so many businesses destroyed from the wind as well. >> you mentioned the wind. hurricane ida was extraordinarily slow to weaken. it is slowly creeping north. how much of that adds to your concerns about the damage as you're in nightfall now in new orleans? >> it is going to be widespread. like i said, as it approaches baton rouge and all the communities in between new orleans and baton rouge, they're going to be experiencing high winds way out of the range they usually experience for a hurricane. usually it's less -- wondering whether those homes and especially the mobile trailer parks can with stand this type
of wind. >> the reality is you don't know the extent of the damage, and the damage is still happening as we speak because that storm is still packing a strong punch in parts of louisiana. what is your biggest fear when you wake up in the morning and it's daylight about what you're going to see with the damage? >> the widespread damage because of the extensive, slow moving storm with the high winds, the pounding on businesses and homes, the trees, the power lines, the widespread damage and the time it takes to get people back, get that infrastructure back place. the longer it takes the less likely people will come back. time is important. we just have to work together and bring back this community and the coast as quickly as possible. people have been through this many times and louisianans help out their neighbors as people come from all over the country to help out. we're surely going to need that
after this storm. >> there's been a lot of comparisons to katrina as you have been discussing because, also, today is the 16-year anniversary of katrina. fortunately, the levees are holding at last check around new orleans which is certainly helping the situation. what is also different this time around is of course the pandemic. the state's medical system is already struggling under the weight of the covid crisis with many hospitals at or near capacity. how have things held up? >> we've got real champions in the health care industry. many of them took their mattresses to the hospitals because they knew it was a long haul and bunked in the hospitals to take care of those sick people. we're just hoping when the sun comes up in the morning, we start the rescue efforts, we don't have a lot of injured people to add to the already stressed hospitals and most people took the warning and left. we always have people that stay
behind, hopefully they realize how serious this storm was and the majority of the people got out. >> all right. louisiana lieutenant governor billy nungesser thank you for joining us and bringing us the latest from your state. we wish you the best of luck. >> thank you, my friend. >> cnn's jason carroll is in houma, louisiana not far from where the storm made landfall. what is the situation there? what kind of damage have you seen? >> reporter: i wanted to give you a first look. we are at the houma power station out here. you can see part of the sides of the building have already come off. part of the roof has come off as well. the reason we know that is we spoke to some of the workers here during the worst of ida. they decided it was no longer safe for them to be here seeing that part of the building was coming off so they made their way to the civic center about a half mile from where we were doing live reports before so they hunkered down there but
then once they got there part of the roof, the two buildings there, part of the roof on both of those buildings started to give way as well. so that gives you a sense already to see some of the damage we're seeing, even at this point. we've only been able to do a cursory tour because it is now dark because of the high winds we're still experiencing here and because the streets are blocked. we were only able to do a cursory tour. but we saw several buildings that were damaged already from hurricane ida. when you think of houma think about this. for several hours while we were out here we experienced sustained winds topping 100 miles per hour. hurricane ida just sat on top of this area and just did as much damage as she could before she moved on. and so what is next is to see what kind of damage has been done out here. the sheriff says he has received
a lot of calls from folks who say, hey. i've lost my roof. i'm seeing this type of damage or that type of damage. the sheriff says, look. we told people to evacuate as you know, pamela. you heard the warnings. and now it's just they have to wait until morning until they can make sure the roads are safe enough to get out there to assess the damage. we're already seeing the damage here, again here at the power station, houma, like much of louisiana without power. the folks here are going to be waking up to see what type of damage hurricane ida has left behind. pamela? >> now utility companies are warning power outages from ida could last for weeks. we have that on top of all of this damage and a little window you're giving us into what is likely the case across many parts of the state. thank you very much. let's go straight to baton rouge now and check in with cnn's ed lavendera. what is the situation there?
>> hi palm l. here in baton rouge we are finally starting to see the strongest rain bands from hurricane ida. it has taken hours for it to make its way here. we spent much of the day driving into the low lying communities to see how they're preparing for this moment. it matched what the lieutenant governor was telling you a short while ago and how people there are really nervous about the wind speeds because hurricanes usually don't stay at such a strong level this far north, this far away from the coast line. so many people we spoke with say that was one of the things they were most concerned about. they had never been through a storm with winds as high as it was probably going to be here. and the worst of this, now, is that the brunt of the storm is going to be striking many of these communities in the evening hours. so here between now and 2:00 in the morning is really when a lot of these communities will be take k the brunt of this storm
and that always adds another layer of, another terrifying layer to having to deal with storms of this magnitude. and the power outages are starting to pile up through the region. here in the baton rouge area a hundred thousand people already without power. those numbers will continue to grow in the hours ahead. pamela, it is important to point out this isn't just these communities trying to get through the brunt of the storm. it's the rainfall as the storm continues to push north and the rainfall continues to fall it is going to be flooding in the next day or two that is going to cause perhaps the most damage. and several communities that we were in today, many people said they were planning on riding out the initial impact of the storm in their homes but they were also packing up their belongings so as soon as the storm passed they were going to be ready to escape from the area because they anticipate the flood waters coming back and draining out toward the gulf of mexico. so this isn't just an event that is going to be over here in the
next couple hours. they're going to be dealing with it for several more days. >> that is such an important point, ed. we still don't know what the ripple effect will be from hurricane ida. there is still so much unknown right now including the extent of the damage there. a lot of people we've spoken with tonight are nervous about waking up in the morning, what they'll see, and what lies ahead in the days ahead as you just pointed out. ed lavendera, thank you. we just learned ida is a category 2 storm with sustained winds currently 110 miles an hour. to put this in perspective ida made landfall around 10:00 this morning. it is highly unusual for it to move so slowly and be downgraded so slowly. it has been packing a powerful punch ever since it hit landfall there in louisiana and folks in louisiana are not out of the woods yet depending where they are. it will need a lot of help recovering from this storm. the red cross is standing by to
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fool you. it is still slamming louisiana right now. there's still a lot more to learn about how it is impacting the people there. the damage it's caused. now we are learning that there is at least one death caused by a downed tree. the slow movement is increasing the risk of major flooding. new orleans is under a flash flood emergency and completely out of power. the jefferson parish president told me this evening they are getting calls from people trapped in their homes with water up to their chests. every road in the parish is now impassable and the sheriff says two of the parish's three hospitals have been damaged. i want to bring in a spokesman for the american red cross. thanks for joining us. looking at the power and just the ferociousness of ida what do you see as the biggest need right now? >> good evening, pam. at this point we don't know the full extent of the damage potentially until tomorrow morning. what we do know is that the
american red cross is ready to provide those immediate needs to the public who have been affected by this. and so we have prepositioned roughly 400 to 600 volunteer work force. we've opened dozens of shelters particularly in louisiana and mississippi and we want the public to know these shelters are there for them should they need to evacuate. >> and the power company in louisiana says the power could be out in some areas for weeks. you have louisiana's governor warning that it may also be weeks away. how does the red cross step in and help in a situation like this? >> so, i mean, this is what -- when our mission is fulfilled. we have been preparing for this
for some time and we have disaster workers who will be there there to provide the emotional support for individuals to provide the shelter, the clothing, the food as needed, and help to be the best part of what is a very difficult time. >> when can the red cross give aid to those who need it? >> well, again, we have various shelters already open. what i would like to emphasize is for those who may need shelter to call 211 or 1-800-red cross or down load the free red cross emergency app. >> that is very important for folks who may need help. what do you do in a situation like this where so many people are most likely going to be in of aid? how do you decide to give aid to first?
where to go. how to dish it out? >> the aid is distributed simply on need. there is no other factor. anyone who is in need will be helped by our organization. >> what do you see as the biggest obstacles to getting aid to those most in need? >> well, of course, at this point just the storm, itself. and so our teams are waiting for the storm to go through. many of them are, you know, hunkered down if you will until it goes through and then we'll be in a position to -- we will be ready for those that need that aid. >> all right. thank you. and earlier tonight i spoke with the jefferson parish president just south of new orleans. she gave us a disturbing update about the rising water there.
i want you to hear how she describes it. >> right now my concern is we have lost contact with grand isle, the island right on the gulf of mexico that i've been very, very concerned about. we lost contact with them. we've not been able to reach them so i don't know what they're going through. then closer up here still outside the hurricane protection system, crown point, lafitte, the water is rising. people are in their homes and we are getting reports of people with water up to their chests asking to be rescued. a very dark situation and we just can't get out yet. >> that is dire. what else are you hearing from people calling in? that is horrific. >> it is horrific. we're almost the electrical grid is almost out. we are probably at 95% out of electricity. we were a very large transmission tower came down that fed a lot of our community. we're getting reports of roof
damage, trees down, tree roots pulling up. damaging water mains. now our water pressure is going down. so, you know, we are also responding to an assisted, actually a condominium where there are some elderly people living there. and their roof partially collapsed and we're trying to get them out to a church across the street. so it is very, very busy here. we just can't respond yet. >> so what are you doing in these cases? when you get a call like that with the senior citizen or a person with water up to their chest, what can you do? >> well, people just, you know, i got a text from a friend of mine and she said a tree fell on her neighbor's house. she wants the neighbors to come to her house but said she can't walk outside right now. it is just the winds are so heavy, so high right now, we just can't get out. we were able to get one of the fire chiefs over to the assisted
living center to see what it is like. it is not a dire situation but they do have water in the building on the first floor. the real situation i think is very dire. the water that is rising in the areas of lower lafitte. >> many louisiana residents left their homes and got out of ida's way but one who stayed joins us next.
our breaking news this hour hurricane ida is a deadly category 2 storm. we are learning of the first death reported in louisiana caused by a fallen tree at home. according to the ascension parish sheriff's office. nearly 1 million are without power. new orleans in the dark tonight. this is normally a city that is full of life. not tonight. catastrophic transmission damage is blamed for the power failure as ida makes its closest path to the city. strong winds, heavy rains expected to continue for hours. and in grand isle on the louisiana coast, a dire report the water is rising after getting battered for hours by strong winds one official now says they are getting calls from people with water up to their chests inside their homes. let's bring in cnn
meteorologist, what's the latest? >> what a remarkable day along the northern gulf coast, certainly one that is going to reshape the landscape across the region of southern louisiana. the storm system is as incredible as it gets. i've covered tropical systems upwards of 20 years now looking at them every season and i don't think i've seen one that has maintained the intensity this system has over nine hours from the official landfall, still just one mile per hour shy of what would be considered a category 3 or major hurricane. that is 111 miles per hour. latest advisory brings this down to 110 with nine hours over land. the closest approach in the last hour 30 miles west of new orleans, a wind gust up to 90 miles per hour. that speaks of the froerocity a the intensity. this region is conducive to allow storms to maintain that intensity and that is why this
is going to be so devastating even into the overnight hours. take the sun down and cool the atmosphere down a little bit and it allows the system and thunderstorm activity to diminish a little bit and over land it also helps. this hasn't been the ka is in the past several hours. this area around new orleans whether northward into st. hammond or westward back toward baton rouge or southward around neural upwards of 900,000 customers in the dark across the region. it really speaks to the incredible winds. in the morning hours, landfall gusts observed to 150 miles per hour. it only takes about a 60 to 70-mile-per-hour gust to bring down trees especially if the soil is saturated and what a lot of people are not keeping in mind in new orleans we've had the second wettest year on record prior to ida making landfall this morning. over 60 inches has already fallen in the first, in nine months, eight months or so of the year. it speaks to how wet it's been. once the system passes through it'll put 2021 in the wettest all time with all the moisture already in the soil.
you know, not only flash flooding is going to be an issue into the overnight hours but also significant damage and when you're speaking of winds of this magnitude at landfall the national hurricane center often says the area will be uninhabitable for a period of weeks to months. we know that damage in place, that certainly has already taken place along the southern coast of louisiana. you take a look at the mullet plier effect and people often think a category increase from 1 to 2 is a linear increase. only a one category increase. but the damage impacts are about a 10 x increase in the damage impacts and bring the winds up to 150 miles per hour as ida had at peak intensity at landfall that is 256 times more damage than category 1 at landfall. it speaks to the historic nature of the storm system not only in intense but the landfall. new orleans and louisiana now has had back-to-back years with 150-mile-per-hour landfalls. back in 2020 and now the only
state in u.s. history to see back-to-back hurricane seasons with 150-mile-per-hour storms making landfall in that state. certainly hearts and prayers go out to our friends here across the state. you'll notice widespread coverage. areas indicated in red with flood warnings in place whether it is in new orleans, itself, points just to the west, points just to the south even into houma at this hour seeing flood warnings which means flooding is imminent or occurring. with the amount of rain that has come down on top of what has been the wettest year on record around this region, this is going to be a major story through the overnight hours with the amount of water that is going to be running across the region and flash floods taking place. >> all right. thank you so much for bringing us the latest there on hurricane ida. for residents who didn't evacuate, louisiana's governor says it could be, quote, days, perhaps even week before help arrives. my next guest heeded warnings and did evacuate his home in
houma where the eye passed by. he is staying with family right now 90 minutes away and joins me on the line. tell me what you are feeling right now, thomas. looking at all of the damage in houma you must be pretty relieved you evacuated. >> yes, pretty nervous looking back on the news channels and everything and seeing what is going on. nervous to get back but ready to get back. i know we got some damage. most houses in our neighborhood had their ceilings collapse. roofs are leaking. it is going to be interesting when we get back. >> do we know anything about how your home fared in this? >> not sure yet. nobody will be able to check it until tomorrow. i have people who can go in and check. i know we had a tornado go through the neighborhood so we are uneasy about that. >> do you know any neighbors that decided to stay behind and weather the storm? >> i do. i had one who works at a hospital and was mandated to stay and he'll check on my house tomorrow. >> so some people though in louisiana decided not to
evacuate. you did. what was it that pushed you to do so? >> i was wanting to ride it out but my wife had other plans and wanted me to go with him and the kids to get out of there. that is more important. >> aren't you happy that you did, looking at how bad it's been? >> i am but i'm the type of person that likes to be there to try to fix things as they happen and driving me nuts that i can't do that but it is what it is. >> so from what you can tell, how does this storm compare to others you've experienced? >> this is the worst. i was in baton rouge growing up when andrew came through. and i seen -- i've been there for katrina and rita and this is going to be right up at the top. >> what is your family feeling right now? are you guys worried about what you're going to see come daylight, what the report is going to be about your home and the damage in your community? >> very nervous. very nervous. never been in this situation
before. so not sure what to do. i'm putting myself expecting the worst. my wife is not too bad. i got some positiveness in there. >> it is a good thing you listened to your wife. wives always know best. >> that's right. >> i'm glad that you are safe, your family is safe. thank you for sharing your story with us, thomas. >> thank you for having me. >> all right. our storm coverage continues next. more on the rescuers standing by to help anyone in need. what the leader of the cajun navy says he is most worried about right now.
you are looking at security camera footage captured in louisiana st. bernard parish. hurricane ida's powerful winds and roaring waters are ravaging the state right now. the storm remains a powerful category 2 hurricane. don't let the number fool you. it is still packing a powerful punch. right now new orleans is feeling the strength of ida. strong winds and heavy rain are hitting the city as the storm pushes inland. the city is under a flash flood emergency and completely out of power. nearly 1 million customers are in the dark right now in louisiana and mississippi. a lot of people are going through a tough time. millions decided to ride out the
storm and an army of private citizens called the cajun navy is ready to spring into action to help anyone who may need a rescue. just moments ago i spoke with the president of the united cajun navy. listen to what he said is making him nervous about hurricane ida right now. >> well, the main thing making me nervous right now even more so is that it has continued to keep its strength. once it got into land. i don't think anybody knew this thing was going to stay this strong. this is relentless and has not given up. it has not given up. we are really catching the devil over here. it seems like it will be this way all through the night. >> your mission is to try to help people but you have a powerful storm that is moving slowly over louisiana and it's nightfall there. so what are you able to actually do right now? >> well, we have guys coming in from all over the country and
we're trying to cut our way into houma and go a little bit south. there's a lot of people trapped down there. the problem is a lot of power lines across the road and stuff. we have air boats going in. one of the main needs we have right now is high octane fuel air boats. we're having trouble finding that right now. but it is a dire strait. people in their homes with kids, handicapped, elderly with no roofs on their house and the weather is still plummeting pretty good. we'll do the best we can into the night to try to get into some of them. >> if you would just paint a fuller picture of what you're hearing. you sort of describe it there, you say people are trapped in their homes. can you just bring us into the situation a little bit more? >> a lot of people wasn't expecting this. a lot of people the roofs flew off the house and they have kids and we can't get to them. the water is high on the road or power lines are down so for the first time in my life we're he
having to tell everybody to hunker down. old school get a mattress or get in the center of the house. hundreds of people we've had to tell them today we just can't get to them. >> how does that make you feel? >> 16 years ago today was katrina. a lot of us suffered a lot of losses personally with that. so it is just kind of like dejavu. you know, here again. we were talking earlier, general honore, him and i worked together during katrina. it is just surreal. we're looking around and seeing total destruction and haven't really been able to see it yet because it is dark. we know when we wake up in the morning it is going to be level. >> if you even go to sleep tonight. how do you think ida compares to katrina? you mentioned today is the 16-year anniversary. >> i think when it is all said and done this storm is going to have more widespread damage than katrina. we've yet to see exactly what is going on in new orleans. we're hearing a lot of reports around the area, in the south a
lot of flooding. unfortunately it is night time and we can't assess the damage right now. i think it is going to be as bad or worse on a bigger scale. this is devastating. and the calls we got today were desperate. it is going to be a long time for louisiana to recover from this. >> what is your biggest concern right now, todd? is it the rain? is it the wind? is it the combo? what is really striking the fear for you right now? >> for us, we've been preparing for this for like two years with covid. right now some of the people we're picking up, i'm in a hotel right now with no power and the rain is coming down. for some of the people brought in, you know, there is no covid protocol. we try to do the best we can with masks and temperature checks but right now my biggest fear is we have people that we're bringing into an environment that we could have some problems later on. unfortunately, you got to consider saving a life first. right now it is just we worry. it's a big worry.
we got covid. we got the storm devastating people. there is nowhere for people to go. >> nowhere for people to go. you have the hospitals over crowded with covid patients. they can't evacuate the patients. you said you've been preparing for this. how has your organization prepared for the devastation? this storm is likely to bring to your state and the gulf coast, as you pointed out, we still don't know the scope of the damage and this storm is still very powerful. >> our home base is baton rouge. i'm over here and i don't think we'll get as much of the storm as we could have but when it is all said and done i think it will be as bad or worse than katrina with the widespread scale. going back to the hospitals being full, people are wet. they've been wet all day. when you get wet you get sick. you get the sniffles and stuff. we're seeing people right now we're picking up and they're
sniffling and we aren't sure whether it is because they are wet or have covid. the biggest concern right now is covid but we have nowhere to bring these people. we were prepared because we have some supplies. we have tons of food, snacks, water, gatorade we stored in warehouses that are ready to go. at this stage we were not prepared for this type of destruction. and even on our scale of having supplies i'm worried. >> you have all these people calling in needing help but you can't help them right now. frankly just too dangerous. todd terrell, thank you very much and for all that you're doing to help in this very powerful storm. >> it's a mess. thank you all. >> this will be a very long night for so many people who are facing this storm. but this is how we got here. a rapidly intensifying storm that hasn't let off the gas since it made landfall. >> we have breaking news on hurricane ida this extremely
dangerous storm just made landfall only moments ago as a category 4 storm with 150-mile-per-hour winds. >> my weather vain registered a 168-mile-per-hour wind and then it broke. >> it almost feels like someone with giant hands has taken the wind and water from behind me and is pushing it toward the city of new orleans. >> this is the time to stay inside. do not venture out. >> there is flying debris all over the place. you'll see my eyes dart back and forth. i have to constantly watch out for me and my team. >> these bands of wind and rain have steadily been coming through here in houma. makes it very difficult at this point to stand up. just let the visuals play out. the reason i can stand here is only because of the concrete wall to my left.
>> you have to be prepared to stay for the first 72 hours on your own. nobody should be expecting that tonight a first responder is going to be able to answer a call for help. >> we're praying for the best and planning, prepared for the worst. as soon as the storm passes we'll put the country's full might behind the rescue and recovery. >> people impacted by the storm will need help to recover. so for more information about how you can help just go to cnn.com/impact. a heart breaking moment. we watched today as all 13 fallen u.s. service members came home. they were killed this past week in a suicide bombing at the kabul airport. president biden stood by to watch the dignified transfer. his first as commander-in-chief.
he also met with family members of those troops. cnn's jeremy diamond reports on the mood inside the white house. jeremy? >> reporter: pam, for the first time in his eight months as president, president biden attending a dignified transfer at dover airforce base attending as the remains of those 13 service members who were killed in the terrorist attack on thursday in kabul arrived at dover airforce base. families were also in attendance. president biden becoming the fourth commander-in-chief to preside over one of these dignified transfers. we know president biden before those transfer cases were loaded off of that military c-17 plane he met personally with the families of those 13 service members and we saw as the president stood by alongside the secretary of defense, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the secretary of state, and other top u.s. government
officials in silence near total silence as these 13 transfer cases of the service members were taken off of that plane the president bowing his head as if in prayer, holding his hand over his heart. we know he has spoken in recent days about the impact this has had, the heavy burden that you can feel here at the white house in those days since that thursday attack. now, listen. what we need to remember here as well is the fact that president biden and his top officials have made very clear that there is still a very, very high threat of additional terrorist attacks in kabul as the u.s. completes this evacuation and the drawdown of all of those nearly 6,000 troops who over the last week have helped to facilitate those evacuations. secretary of state tony blinken today saying this is now the most dangerous time in an already extraordinarily dangerous mission. pam? >> thanks, jeremy diamond from the white house. we'll be right back.
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sad news tonight. beloved actor ed asner has passed away at the age of 91. it was just three months ago that ed joined me live to react to the passing of his long-time friend and fellow actor. as we talked about the mary tyler moore show he recalled how their characters meshed starting with gavin's role as murray slaughter. >> he was always aware of the finagling going on, the double talk, and the deception. and he was a good confidante. mary always took him into her confidence. >> did you all know you were making such a legendary show at the time? >> no, we didn't. it kind of grew on us. and we grew with it. >> on that day ed also posted
this tweet. my heart is broken. gavin was my brother, my partner in crime, and food and my comic conspirator. i will see you in a bit, gavin. tell the gang i will see them in a bit. betty, it's just you and me now. of course he was referring to series costar betty white, and now it is just betty. we have more on ed asner and his life on and off camera. >> you know what? you got spunk. [ laughter ] >> well. >> i hate spunk. >> he was the tough but lovable boss lou grant in the '70s sitcom "the mary tyler moore" show one of the most acclaimed tv series in american history. >> lou grant gave me my center. >> would you think i was violating your civil rights if i asked if you're married? >> presbyterian. >> he is a simpler soul. he is a more honest soul.
far less devious than i am. >> the role of sexist boss turned women's champion garnered asner two golden globes and three emmys. >> people love mean, crabby people, who show the soft side. and i guess i created a career in developing that aspect. >> reporter: another groundbreaking show followed in 1977. the mini series "roots" one of the most watched television events of all time. >> can you capture or buy 170 healthy blacks and deliver them to the hold of the lord? >> reporter: his portrayal of a slave ship captain won him an emmy. the same year he reprized the beloved lou grant in a tv series of the same name. his performance in the post watergate era earned asner two
golden globes and two emmys for best actor. >> city desk. >> reporter: later in his career asner played santa in the christmas favorite "elf." >> it is time to start preparations for next christmas. >> reporter: and starred as the voice of carl frederickson in the award winning animated film "up." >> okay, boys. i'll send you a postcard from paradise. >> reporter: off screen he campaigned for the equal rights amendment and served two terms as president of the screen actors guild. in 2002 the guild honored asner with a lifetime achievement award. >> i'm so glad i won the american lifetime achievement award which to me means living with purpose and passion. >> reporter: ed asner, an authority figure in front of and behind the camera who acted from the heart and led with his conscience. >> he certainly lived a life of purpose and passion.
our thanks to stephanie elam. ed asner will be greatly missed. thank you so much for joining me this evening. it was a busy sunday night. i'm pamela brown. we are getting a new update on hurricane ida from the national hurricane center and michael holmes continues our special coverage now. have a good week. xxxx welcome to cnn newsroom. i'm michael holmes. we are following breaking news in louisiana where the damage from hurricane ida, one of the strongest storms to ever hit the state, is quickly becoming clearer. right now, all of new orleans parish is without power, in the dark. statewide almost a million customers with no electricity. there is now a flash flood emergency for new orleans. a major city now totally i
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