NEWS IN THE WORLD OF POWER AND INTEGRATED BUILDING SYSTEMS
A Storm by Any Other Name: Louisiana Recovers
From Devastating August Floods
> BET WEEN AUG. 12–22, an unnamed
storm damaged more than 150,000
southern Louisiana homes. Gov. John Bel
Edwards said part of the state received
more rain in 48 hours than the Mississippi
River discharges into the Gulf of Mexico
in 18 days. Locals are calling the event a
once-in-a-thousand-years storm that left
three times as much rain in Louisiana as
Hurricane Katrina did 11 years ago.
The storm’s devastation is stunning.
Thousands of families, including Mike and
Michelle Gautreau, lifelong residents of
St. Amant and Ascension Parish, La., lost
everything but the clothes on their backs.
Dee Binder, Louisiana Region Feeding
Lead for the Red Cross, said that, after
the storm and the rising flood waters, the
organization was serving 38,000 hot meals
per day. A month later, they continued to
serve about 7,000 hot meals each day.
Binder said that lessons learned with
hurricanes Katrina and Isaac helped
organizations such as the Red Cross
better prepare, but this storm caught
more people off guard. Of the four
parishes most affected by the storm’s
deluge and subsequent historical flooding,
St. Helena Parish and Livingston Parish
residents were nearly cut off from
receiving immediate assistance.
Without the help of the Louisiana
National Guard’s high-water vehicles and
helicopters to navigate flooded roads and
impassable bridges, many citizens would
not have received any assistance.
In addition to federal, state and local
aid organizations, the National Electrical
Contractors Association (NECA) and the
International Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers (IBEW) have found a way
to assist. Students from the Electrical
Training Alliance of Jacksonville, Fla.,
(ETAJ), operated by IBEW Local No. 177
and the North Florida NECA chapter,
organized and collected donations to fill
a trailer and send to affected NECA and
IBEW families in Louisiana associated
with Local No. 995. The goods were
delivered by former NASCAR driver
The waters have receded, but the
damage is daunting. Beyond the losses
of personal property, businesses and
equipment, many communities are also
reminded of the loss of human life.
Following Katrina, ELECTRICAL
CONTRACTOR published “Disaster
after the Disaster?” which covered an
emergency ordinance enacted by the City
of New Orleans, allowing contractors to
self-inspect their work. Flood victims
in southern Louisiana learned valuable
lessons, including seeking quality,
guaranteed workmanship from contractors.
“Floods can result in damage to
electrical equipment that must not be
left to chance,” said Michael Johnston,
NECA’s executive director of standards
and safety. “Damage caused by water
submersion and saturation can render
an electrical system unsafe. The National
Electrical Manufacturers Association
published valuable guidelines [available at
goo.gl/BRP2y W] for dealing with water-
damaged electrical equipment, and they
are worth the read.”
Natural disasters have a sobering
way of reminding us how fragile life is.
Southern Louisiana will rebuild; many
residents will build higher. Some will be
forced to leave. All will remember the
storm without a name of August 2016.
For more images, visit
Gautreau residence, St. Amant
and Ascension Parish, La.
ETAJ training coordinator Danny VanSickle and instructor Sanders
Masters help deliver a trailer full of donated goods to flood victims.