Two big updates in Hurricane Laura’s ongoing recovery were announced Monday, with curfew hours being extended and the boil water advisory in Lake Charles being lifted.
Calcasieu Sheriff Tony Mancuso said the updated curfew hours are 10 p.m.-6 a.m. He said this will help businesses better serve residents who work later hours. The curfew will likely be in place for at least 30 days, depending on recovery efforts.
Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies will focus on areas of the parish that remain without power, Mancuso said. The sheriff’s office continues to be powered by generators.
Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter called the lifting of the boil water advisory “a pretty big victory.”
Margaret Harris, customer service representative for Entergy Louisiana, said power is available to about 95 percent of customers in Calcasieu and Cameron parishes. She asked residents in the “few pockets” of areas still without power to be patient as crews continue restoration work.
Planned outages may occur down the road so that certain areas can have power restored to pre-storm conditions, Harris said. Customers should visit Entergy’s website or mobile app to update their contact information.
A temporary hotline, 866-557-4240, is open for Entergy customers whose homes were damaged and need to be restored.
Two Entergy customer information centers are open at 2150 Opelousas St. and 1833 Gerstner Memorial Drive.
Harris said Sunday’s wind gusts may have caused temporary outages for some customers. She said residents should call Entergy if power isn’t restored quickly.
Harris said Entergy customers may have received bills for usage prior to Hurricane Laura’s landfall. She said Entergy will estimate zero usage from Aug. 26 to the time meter reading resumes.
Parish Administrator Bryan Beam said power has been restored to 7,800 of the nearly 12,400 Beauregard Electric Cooperative customers in Calcasieu Parish.
Robbie Lee, regional vice president for Altice USA’s mid-south region, said service has been restored to roughly 17 percent, or nearly 7,000 Suddenlink Communications customers in Lake Charles. More than 500 additional resources will be Lake Charles on Tuesday, including contractors.
“Our presence is strong and will remain strong until we get everyone back online,” Lee said. “We are fully dedicated to restoring service as quickly as possible and keeping an open line of communication to our customers.”
Suddenlink will automatically provide full service credits to customers affected by Laura, dating back to Aug. 27. The credits will be applied to customer accounts within two billing periods. Late fees and collection activities have been suspended for customers impacted by the storm.
Hurricane Laura damaged nearly 4,700 miles of fiber optic and coaxial cable statewide, Lee said.
Lee said Suddenlink is deploying additional WiFi hotspots at 1538 E. Prien Lake Road, with an additional facility in Lake Charles and one in Sulphur expected later this week. Hotspots are open to non-Suddenlink customers.
Lee said he is unsure when Dexter Goei, Altice USA CEO, will visit Lake Charles to view damage caused by Hurricane Laura. Brad Ayers, senior director of government affairs for Altice USA, the company that acquired Suddenlink in 2016, told state lawmakers last week that Goei would be in the area this week.
Allen Wainwright, parish Public Works director, said more than 2 million cubic yards of debris have been picked up so far, including municipalities. He said plenty of work remains, and the first pass of debris collection will last at least a couple weeks.
Wainwright encouraged residents to continue sorting piles of debris and keep debris away from drainage ditches. He said the main drainage laterals were severely impacted by Laura, and crews are working to cut and stack debris on their banks to normalize drainage flow.
Wainwright said the bigger fix is moving out debris along parish drainage laterals. He said the parish is working with the two gravity drainage districts on a watershed assessment program through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Jerry Stolar with FEMA said officials plan to discuss long-term temporary housing options for Calcasieu Parish on Wednesday. He said federal and state officials will work together on temporary housing, but addressing the amount of impacted residents will take time.
The FEMA drive-thru centers in Lake Charles and Sulphur suspended operations on Sunday and Monday because of Tropical Storm Beta. Officials are monitoring the storm’s path to determine when services can resume.
Residents needing transportation back to their homes should call 337-330-4636. To sign up for emergency feeding through the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, visit dcfs.louisiana.gov, or call 211.
Hunter said City Hall is open for business. Appointments are encouraged. Meanwhile, the Civic Center, transit center, recreation centers and Mallard Cove Golf Course remain closed.
Hunter said he made multiple visits to sites where there were claims of people living in tents. He didn’t find anyone while walking along the Civic Center grounds and the lakefront Sunday. Hunter said the city can coordinate with the state to transport Hurricane Laura evacuees to shelters.
City staff found people living in tents last week, however, all of them had traveled to Lake Charles after Hurricane Laura for construction work, according to Hunter. He said one woman had a 2-month-old baby and refused assistance from the city.
“We gave them resources, we showed them what we could do for them if they needed shelter,” Hunter said. “We take those reports very seriously.”
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