Rescuers help dozens trapped in flooding south of New Orleans

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by KHOU.com & WWLTV.com staff

khou.com

Posted on August 29, 2012 at 9:02 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 29 at 7:15 PM

BRAITHWAITE, La. --  As the sun came up Wednesday morning, rescue workers acted quickly to try and get residents out of high flood waters in Plaquemines Parish, a rural area south of New Orleans hit hard by Hurricane Isaac.

Parish President Billy Nungesser said the town of Braithwaite was inundated with 10 to 12 feet of water, with Isaac chasing those who stayed behind to their attics and rooftops. In all, about 65 people were rescued and another 25 were waiting to be rescued in the area, reported WWLTV.

Nungesser said it was unclear if a back levee was overtopped or if it was breached.

"This is not a Category 1 (storm), I don't care what anybody says," he said. "This rain, this driving wind. I got more damage to my house than I had for Katrina."

The area from Braithwaite to White Ditch was swamped with floodwaters after Hurricane Isaac came roaring ashore early Wednesday morning.

As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, rescue efforts were ongoing for residents, said Nungesser, but conditions made it difficult to coordinate the rescues. Shrimp boats were used to rescue people by picking people off rooftoops and take them safety.

One Braithwaite resident, Gene Oddo, spoke with WWL-TV as he rode out the storm in the attic with his wife and infant daughter. Oddo said he got trapped in the attic after the water came quickly.

"It came up so fast," said Oddo over the phone, adding that some neighbors were also trapped in the area.

Nungesser said there is a report of a woman stranded on a rooftoop, and some people are stranded at the ferry landing. Nungesser said two pump operators were stuck on the levee in Braithwaite because the water came up too fast.

A tweet from CNN stated that three people were rescued from Plaquemines, according to Nungesser, including one woman from a rooftop.

The area, which is not part of the hurricane protection system, has dealt with flooding problems during serious storms before.

Nungesser said they're trying to get people out through St. Bernard.

"The water is going across the road pretty good. A minute ago they stopped moving people because they were fearful that they'd drive their cars off the road."

Nungesser said the area is seeing worst conditions than in Hurricane Gustav.

"If this is going to keep up for 36 hours, we're going to see that east bank area inundated with water."

>> Hurricane Central: Tracking Isaac
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