Two weeks after Hurricane Laura, Cameron and Calcasieu parishes are almost completely in the dark

    At least 90 percent of power customers remain without electricity

    Lake Charles after Hurricane Laura
    A fallen utility pole blocks the roadway on 10th Street in Lake Charles after Hurricane Laura. (Photo by Wes Muller/LA Illuminator, Saturday Aug. 29, 2020.)

    Two weeks after Hurricane Laura made landfall as the strongest storm to hit Louisiana, about 75 percent of the power had been restored, Dan Brouillette, the secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy, said at a Wednesday press conference, but in the area where the storm struck, almost no progress has been made. Ninety to 95 percent of electric customers in Cameron and Calcasieu remain without power Wednesday.

    The state remains weeks away from full restoration of power, Brouillette says. 

    Dan Brouillette, the secretary for the U.S. Department of Energy, appeared with Gov. John Bel Edwards at Tuesday’s press conference. Brouillete said, “The destruction to the transmission grid in particular is devastating. 1000 or so… towers have been damaged or destroyed. We’ve replaced some of them, but nonetheless, these are very difficult things to replace.”

    “As a Louisiana native, I know hurricanes are a fairly common event here,” Brouillette said. He said he came to the state this time “to discuss the long-term impacts of Hurricane Laura on the energy industry in Louisiana” with Edwards. Edwards said the Energy department has been very helpful in providing the state the rebuilding resources that it needs — including utility poles, transformers or transmission towers. Edwards said he is enlisting Brouillette’s help to get a “lame-duck Congress” to secure community disaster block grant funding to help Louisianians recover from Laura.

    When a reporter asked Edwards what requests he’s made to Energy department, Edwardshe said, “It’s not a single request, it’s a bunch of requests. And (Brouillette’s) been very receptive and very helpful.”

    Brouillette said that the next step in recovery is rebuilding the damaged infrastructure to “make it even more resilient” and to secure the proper funding from Congress to make “the infrastructure even better than it was pre-Laura.”