In the midst of Hurricane Ida’s devastation, there was at most one bright spot Sunday: Parishioners discovered that electricity had been restored outside of New Orleans to their parishioners, which is a small improvement in Louisiana as people struggle to regain some of their normal lives.
The Rev. G. Amaldoss had hoped to attend Mass at St. Joachim Catholic Church, Jefferson Parish. The parking lot was littered with fallen limbs. The sanctuary was lit up when he opened the doors to the church on Sunday morning. This made it possible to hold an indoor service.
Amaldoss uttered, “Divine intervention”, while he pressed his hands together and looked up at the sky.
Many people in Louisiana still face shortages of food, water, and gas a week after Hurricane Ida hit. They also have to contend with heat and humidity. At least 17 people died in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama as a result of Hurricane Ida.
State health officials in Louisiana announced on Sunday that 13 people have died from heat-related causes. One of them was a 74 year-old man who lost his life during an extended power outage. In the Northeast, Ida’s remnants dumped record-breaking rain and killed at least 50 people from Virginia to Connecticut.
Amaldoss, a green robe-clad man, walked down the aisle to Mass Sunday with only eight people seated on the pews. Instead, the seats were stuffed with donated toothpaste, shampoo, and canned vegetables.
He said, “For all those whose lives have been saved and for all the lost people, we pray to them.” Remember the brothers and sister driven by wind and water.
The floodgates that saved the church were visible through the wall of windows located behind the altar. The Gospel told the story of Jesus giving sight to the blind man. Stories of miracles were also repeated throughout the small church.
Wynonia Lazaro expressed gratitude for the newly restored power at her home. The only casualties of Ida’s actions were some downed trees, and loosening shingles.
She said, “We are extremely fortunate.”
Some parishioners lost their entire homes or suffered severe damage. Gina Caulfield (64-year-old retired teacher) has been moving from relative to relative since her cousin’s trailer was destroyed. She was thankful to have survived the storm.
She said, “It’s a comfort knowing that people are praying for us.”
Some parishes in New Orleans were ravaged by wind gusts of 100 mph (160 km/h) or more. Ida also damaged or destroyed more power poles than all three hurricanes Katrina, Zeta, and Delta.
According to the state Public Service Commission, more than 630,000 homes or businesses were without power in southeast Louisiana on Sunday. 902,000 customers lost power at the peak.