Power to be restored to New Orleans by middle of next week

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Damien Luke, right, works on repairing a warped doorway as he tries to repair his French Quarter apartment following Hurricane Ida Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in New Orleans, La. Luke said his upstairs room is still uninhabitable because of the roof. He just moved into it last March. (Chris Granger/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate via AP)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Power should be restored to almost all of New Orleans by Wednesday, 10 days after Hurricane Ida destroyed the city’s electrical grid and left more than 1 million customers in Louisiana without power, utility officials said Friday.

Entergy, the company that provides electricity to the city, issued a statement asking for patience and acknowledging the heat and misery in Ida’s aftermath. More than 25,000 workers from 40 states are trying to fix 14,000 damaged poles, more than 2,200 broken transformers and more than 150 destroyed transmission structures.

“Please know that thousands of employees and contractors are currently in the field working day and night to restore power. We will continue working until every community is restored.” said Rod West, a group president for utility operations.

Customers with damage where power enters their home will need to fix it themselves, and there could be some smaller areas that take longer, the company said. The utility offered no promises for when the lights will come back on in the parishes east and south of New Orleans, which were battered for hours by winds of 100 mph (160 kph) or more.

In other developments, Louisiana health officials on Thursday announced an investigation into the deaths of four nursing home residents who were evacuated to a warehouse ahead of the severe weather.

The residents who died were among hundreds from seven nursing homes taken to the warehouse in Independence, where health officials received reports of people lying on mattresses on the floor, not being fed or changed and not being socially distanced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which is currently ravaging the state.

A coroner classified three of the deaths as storm-related.

When a large team of state health inspectors showed up on Tuesday to investigate the warehouse, the owner of the nursing homes demanded that they leave immediately, Louisiana Department of Health spokesperson Aly Neel said.

Neel identified the owner as Bob Dean. Dean did not immediately respond Thursday to a telephone message left by The Associated Press at a number listed for him.

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