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Hurricane Ida Continues to Impact Louisiana Students and Schools as Recovery Drags

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Hurricane Ida Continues to Impact Louisiana Students and Schools as Recovery Drags
A young man helps to clean up his family's house in the wake of Hurricane Ida on Sept. 4, 2021 in Grand Isle, Louisiana. Sean Rayford / Getty Images
As the accounting of, and recovery from, Hurricane Ida drags on, nearly 10% of all schoolchildren are still stuck at home as school systems and local officials struggle to recover from Hurricane Ida.

The 70,000 students still unable to go back to school are mainly located in just five parishes in the southeastern part of the state. "It's kind of hard to comprehend the amount of damage," St. Charles Parish Superintendent Ken Oertling told state lawmakers Tuesday.

Hurricane Ida, which intensified incredibly rapidly over exceptionally warm Gulf waters bore many of the hallmarks of climate change, which is caused by the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels.

The financial toll of Hurricane Ida on local school districts is immense. Lafourche Parish alone faces an estimated $100 in damages, nearly two-thirds of its $160 million annual budget.

Ida's impacts on Louisiana children's education goes beyond just school buildings of course. "Our students can't return, there is nowhere for them to live. [Whether they live in] apartment complexes, housing developments, trailer parks they haven't been able to return," Calcasieu Parish Superintendent Karl Bruchhaus told lawmakers.

For a deeper dive:

AP; Repair costs: The Advocate; Housing: WAFB; Overall recovery: AP; Climate Signals background: 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season

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