Source: Robert Besser

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana: Electricity should be restored to New Orleans next week following the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida, according to Louisiana utility officials.

However, returning residents are being warned that they will need to provide for their own basic needs, including water, if they return beforehand.

While over 1 million customers in Louisiana lost their electricity due to the hurricane, power should be restored to New Orleans by Wednesday, according to Entergy, the company that provides power to New Orleans and much of southeast Louisiana.

Residents are suffering from not only the lack of power, but relief from heat and humidity in the normally brutal Louisiana summer.

More than 25,000 utility workers from 40 states are trying to repair 14,000 damaged utility 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, as quoted by Reuters.

South and west of New Orleans, sheriff’s officials in Lafourche Parish cautioned returning residents that there was no power, no running water, little cellphone service and almost no gasoline.

“Residents can return to the parish outside of curfew times, but are advised to come prepared with all provisions necessary to self-sustain,” deputies wrote on Facebook.

Utility officials have not said when power might be restored to the communities outside New Orleans, some of which suffered through hours of winds measuring 100 mph or more.

Also, workers in New Orleans and neighboring Jefferson Parish are assisting people in finding shelters or in contacting family members outside the heavily damaged areas.

Additionally, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said city workers are seeking to relocate residents of senior homes.

Residents of nursing homes described scenes in which there was no electricity or elevators and and garbage was piling up inside buildings.

On Saturday, New Orleans began transporting nursing home residents to public shelters, Cantrell said.

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

Meanwhile, Louisiana’s health department said Friday that residents from two dozen nursing homes have now been relocated.

At least 14 deaths were blamed on the storm in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, including three nursing home deaths.

“The most dangerous part of a hurricane is after the storm,” said Entergy New Orleans CEO Deanna Rodriguez, who asked people to be careful due to the exhaust coming from small electric generators.

More than 800,000 homes and businesses remained without power Friday in southeast Louisiana, representing about 36 percent of all utility customers statewide. However, just five days ago some 1.1 million customers had no electricity.