Recovery in the wake of Hurricane Isaac continues across eastern St. Mary Parish as electrical service is restored to customers and the school district continues to clean up, repair damage and reopen schools.
About 1,700 Cleco customers remain without power as a result of Hurricane Isaac, according to company spokeswoman Susan Broussard.
During Isaac Wednesday more than 5,000 people were without power, but crews worked through the weather to begin immediately restoring power.
About 65 percent of those who lost electricity had service restored Thursday and the remaining customers are expected to have power sometime over the weekend.
“We are definitely making great progress to restore power to Cleco customers,” Broussard said. “We expect to have a vast majority of those still without power restored today, and we still have extra crews in the area to get this done as quickly and safely as possible.”
Beyond the 50 or so local employees, she said many crews from other areas totaling about 600 workers were brought in to repair storm damage to the Cleco electrical transmission system.
SLECA reported on its website that all of its St. Mary Parish customers have had power restored.
As utility companies make progress to restore power to residents and businesses, school district facilities are also recovering from Hurricane Isaac.
The storm affected two schools in eastern St. Mary Parish, J.S. Aucoin Elementary School in Amelia and the Verdunville St. Mary Alternative Program site, Superintendent Donald Aguillard said.
Both schools remain closed today as a direct result of the storm.
J.S. Aucoin was closed today at the request of Principal Joe Stadalis, Aguillard said.
This request was made after the school received a call from the Amelia sewer district asking that the school remain closed due to sewer capacity issues.
Operations Director Brian Tabor of St. Mary Parish Water and Sewer Commission 1 said after the hurricane knocked out power to the sewer system, the collection system backed up.
The system regained power Thursday, but heavy rains further delayed the system catching up, so the school was closed as a precaution.
“Yesterday, Principal Stadalis checked the commodes, and they were very slow flushing,” Tabor said. “We could not guarantee the system would be caught up by today, so the school was closed as a precaution. We didn’t want to bus the kids in then have major problems, but the system is catching up and should be fine.”
The Verdunville St. Mary Alternative Program site will reopen Tuesday, Aguillard said.
Other Hurricane Isaac-related damage to school properties include a total loss of canopy at M.D. Shannon Elementary School, ongoing pickup of debris, branches and leaves; minor roof leaks and windblown water intrusion into buildings at many sites as well as minor damage to gutters and canopies across the school district, a few blown in windows in Patterson area schools and the loss of a roof covering a football stadium press box at Franklin High School.