Rural Louisiana hit hard; Rita's damage unfolding

While less-than-predicted damage in Houston dominated headlines, many small Louisiana shoreline towns and isolated homes appeared to be devastated, some worse off than after Hurricane Katrina.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIM0RE | September 24, 2005


While less-than-predicted damage in Houston dominated headlines, many small Louisiana shoreline towns and isolated homes appeared to be devastated, some worse off than after Hurricane Katrina. Rita's eye tracked over mostly rural areas.

Water poured through the Vermilion Parish in Louisiana after a canal lock was overwhelmed. And Port Lafourche - on the Gulf Coast about 60 miles south of New Orleans - was also hit hard by both Katrina and Rita.

The extent of the rest of the damage was unknown because floodwaters were blocking roads for hundreds of miles across southern Louisiana.

By mid-afternoon, Rita was a tropical storm with 50-mph winds as it moved through east Texas. More than two million people were without power in Texas and Louisiana.

Officials in areas affected by Rita were urging evacuated residents not to return home yet but highways were becoming gridlocked again by Saturday afternoon as people ignored the advice. Gasoline shortages were still prevalent particularly on the outskirts of Houston. Some 3 million people were evacuated before the storm.

Hurricane Rita made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane along the Texas-Louisiana border Saturday morning. The eye passed over extreme southwest Louisiana, a lightly populated area just east of Sabine Pass, Texas, according to the National Hurricane Center.

In New Orleans, floodwaters again breached levees and spilled into the city but not to the extent they did during Hurricane Katrina.

National faith-based disaster response groups reported they were riding out the storm but were ready to offer immediate relief. Many groups had pre-staged relief supplies in safe areas.


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