BR.idamonday.090121 HS 3216.JPG

A city-parish crew member works to right a sign and traffic signal that was spun around during Hurricane Ida's pass through Baton Rouge, Monday, August 30, 2021, on Siegen Lane at Industriplex.

With 140 traffic lights still out in East Baton Rouge, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome will extend the parishwide curfew through Friday to keep people off the roads. 

Ascension Parish announced it would push its curfew through another day as well.

Ongoing outages have made driving more dangerous and increased 911 calls in the wake of Hurricane Ida have strained emergency responders, prompting many local governments to enact night-through-morning stay-home orders. 

Just like on Wednesday night, the mandatory curfew in East Baton Rouge will run from midnight Thursday through dawn Friday. In Ascension, it will last from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Broome said she hasn't decided whether to stretch the Baton Rouge curfew into the Labor Day weekend. 

"The way we judge whether to do that is through talks with law enforcement, and their concerns over the number of traffic lights still out, and the increasing calls into 911," she said. 

Entergy officials said Thursday the "vast majority" of customers in the greater Baton Rouge area will have power restored by the middle of next week. 

Between Aug. 25 and Wednesday, Broome said calls to the city-parish's fire, police, emergency medical services and Sheriff's Office have doubled from 94, 361, 197 and 440 on Aug. 25, respectively, to 184, 507, 306 and 598. 

Top stories in Baton Rouge in your inbox

Twice daily we'll send you the day's biggest headlines. Sign up today.

Broome didn't have a breakdown on the nature of those calls. 

"Someone asked me the other day why the city-parish couldn't put stop signs out at all the places the traffic signals are out," she said. "The truth of the matter is: That's not realistic at this point in time with everything else our first responders are dealing with."

"People are supposed to be responding like it's a four-way stop anyway," she added. 

The mayor expressed optimism about things returning to some semblance of normalcy after Labor Day, which for Baton Rouge hinges mostly on power being restored.

She said the parish's two community shelters would remain open as long as needed. As of Thursday morning 267 people were taking refuge at the Raising Cane's River Center in downtown and another 155 were checked into the F.G. Clark Activity Center. 

As for debris pickup, Broome said the city-parish has already begun. But contractors will be needed to shoulder the workload, given the sheer volume of downed trees and wreckage left in Ida's wake. They have estimated more than 400,000 cubic yards of debris will have to get hauled off in the coming weeks. 

"We're looking at Tuesday to really launch our debris clean up," she said Thursday. "We'll constantly be reiterating the message not to dump debris down our storm drains and canals. I'm very concerned about folks doing that and bringing us back to square one."  


Email Terry Jones at tjones@theadvocate.com