More than 1,000 inmates to be evacuated from New Orleans-area jails as Hurricane Ida nears

Not all parishes in the area are planning jail evacuations ahead of the now Category 4 storm


By Matt Sledge
The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate
        
NEW ORLEANS, La. — Sheriffs in the New Orleans area were preparing to evacuate more than 1,000 jail inmates on Friday night before the looming arrival of a potentially catastrophic Hurricane Ida.

Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman and Plaquemines Sheriff Jerry Turlich both decided to clear out their jails before the storm makes landfall. The agencies plan to send the men and women in their custody to state Department of Public Safety and Corrections facilities further inland.

Both of the evacuations will be large-scale enterprises. There were 856 people in Orleans Parish custody as of Friday morning, according to City Council data, and more than 600 people in the Plaquemines Parish Detention Center in Davant on the east bank, which is under a mandatory evacuation order.

A utility pole bends from winds caused by Hurricane Ida on a road leading to Batabano, in the Mayabeque province, Cuba, Friday, Aug. 27, 2021.
A utility pole bends from winds caused by Hurricane Ida on a road leading to Batabano, in the Mayabeque province, Cuba, Friday, Aug. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Both parishes' main jails are new construction designed after Hurricane Katrina to survive a major hurricane. However, a major storm could make it more difficult to staff and supply the buildings.

St. Bernard Parish Sheriff James Pohlmann declined comment on whether he intends to evacuate his jail in Chalmette, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office didn't immediately comment on plans for its facility in Gretna near the Mississippi River levee.

Meanwhile, St. Charles Parish Sheriff Greg Champagne said his inmates are staying in place at the jail in Killona.
     
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