Gov Edwards on Barry Sunday 071419

Gov. John Bel Edwards on Sunday evening, July 14, 2019, provided the final daily press briefing on what is now tropical depression Barry.

While issues remain, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday evening Louisiana was largely spared from what could have been a disastrous hurricane.

"This was a storm that could have have played out very differently," Edwards told reporters.

"We leaned forward, we were prepared for the risks that had been forecast," he said.  "We are thankful that the worst scenario did not happen."

The governor made his comments on the same day that what on Saturday was Hurricane Barry was downgraded to a tropical depression headed for Arkansas and Missouri.

While coastal parishes were hard hit, forecasts of up to 25 inches of rain in the Baton Rouge area and other damages did not pan out.

Sunday marked the final daily press briefing on the storm, which sent south Louisiana residents scrambling for days in preparation for a storm three years after an unnamed storm doused the Baton Rouge area.

However, this one took its toll.

Edwards said 93 people in 11 parishes were rescued, including 48 medical patients in Iberia Parish between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. on Sunday.

He said electricity was the source of the problem.

Medically fragile patients had to be evacuated from Iberia Medical Center in the early morning hours, with national guardsmen carrying patients down multiple flights of stairs.


Can't see video below? Click here.


Edwards said there are no reports of storm-related fatalities statewide.

The governor said it is too early to assess damages.

Preliminary estimates, with the assistance of officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will begin in the next few days.

"We are still very much in the response mode, not the recovery mode," Edwards said.

A total of 97,000 state residents remain without power, down from 188,000 at the height of the storm.

State government offices, which were closed Friday in nearly three dozen parishes, will re-open on Monday except in St. Mary, Assumption and Iberia parishes.

A total of seven emergency shelters remain open with 166 residents but those numbers are dropping rapidly, officials said.

Email Will Sentell @wsentell@theadvocate.com.