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Ponchatoula mayor asks residents to be patient for ‘long road’ to recovery

Ponchatoula Mayor Bob Zabbia's office after Hurricane Ida
Ponchatoula Mayor Bob Zabbia's office after Hurricane Ida(Bob Zabbia)
Published: Sep. 1, 2021 at 12:10 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 2, 2021 at 1:11 PM CDT
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PONCHATOULA, La. (WVUE) - Ponchatoula is assessing Ida’s aftermath and prepping for the difficult task of returning to normalcy.

The small city of about 8,000 residents was in the eastern eyewall when Hurricane Ida passed through, experiencing major wind damage to many of its shops and major businesses downtown. On the eastern side of the city, residents found their homes under the threat of floodwaters.

On Wednesday, Mayor Bob Zabbia shared that the damage extended to City Hall and outlined Pochatoula’s steps forward.

“This will be a long recovery and I ask that our residents be patient and helpful with their neighbors,” Zabbia said. “Yet, I know you’re doing this already.”

In a post on social media, Zabbia shared that his personal office is in disarray. The ceiling fell through onto his desk after the building received roof damage.

“Before the storm, we had debris contractors lined up which has speeded up this recovery process,” said Zabbia. “We have spoken daily to Entergy and they are still in the assessment stages. However, this morning we do see Entergy subcontractors on the ground.”

City Hall had considerable water damage and halted our communication system, Zabbia said.

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Police Chief Bry Layrisson said that their department received water inside of the building and their window generator failed. Despite the damage, Layrisson said his officers never stopped working around the clock.

“We have help coming in from all over the country,” Layrisson said. “Our little community is blessed to have neighbors helping neighbors. Thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by Ida.”

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