Ida Recovery: Utilities return to Grand Isle as businesses begin to reopen
Five months after Hurricane Ida’s landfall and the island is only just getting back basic utilities like water, electric and gas.
GRAND ISLE, La. (WVUE) - Since Hurricane Ida, residents and businesses of Grand Isle have been without consistent running water, electricity and gas. Now that those utilities are back online, people say it’s a sign of progress.
Homes and camps are still destroyed, while others are being rebuilt, and the roadways are starting to clear. But residents are pushing forward.
“It’s been 5 and a half months yea, and it seems like yesterday,” said Kelly Scardino, native of Grand Isle and owner of the Hurricane Hole restaurant. “So many of us could have thrown in the towel and gave up. That’s not in me. I’m never going to give up.”
Scardino said the road to recovery so far has been tough, but seeing businesses on Grand Isle reopen is a good sign of progress.
“We opened probably in November. Business is picking up. We have a lot of the contractors here, the workers that come eat,” she said.
It hasn’t been easy running a restaurant with no consistent utilities.
“It was hard because as far as the restaurants, we had to cook on a little propane grill and a propane fryer. And when you get busy, that gets difficult because you’re limited on equipment and then you know it was mostly just me, and my chef and one other worker,” said Scardino. “And we did it. We made it. And I think all the businesses were struggling. And as far as the water, we had tanks. We brought in tanks. 250 gallons at a time.”
Down the road at Artie’s Sports Bar, owner Arthur Bradberry said the return of basic utilities is a blessing to his business of 25 years, but there’s still work to do.
“It’s tough. We have trouble getting products from the vendors that they still can’t get for the stuff you need in here to do what you need to do,” he said, on top of struggling to hire employees.
“It is so hard to get workers,” said Bradberry. “Because there’s no place for them to stay, to start off with. And Grand Isle has always been like that because of the high prices of rent and everything. We’re working a half-staff right now. A lot of them working doubles. You know, we’re trying our best to hold on to what we got.”
Holding on, like Scardino at Hurricane Hole, who said she’s keeping the faith and hopeful people will return to Grand Isle to visit and spend money.
“We need people to come here right now even if it’s just for the day. You drive in, you look around, you eat at one of the local restaurants. It helps,” she said. “Every little bit helps because Grand Isle we have to get that back.”
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