Residents impacted by Isaac return home

(CBS News) LA PLACE, La. - Killer storm Isaac is still alive, weakened but pounding the Midwest. Heavy rain hit from Arkansas to Missouri and north toward Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. But in the south, Isaac left a trail of death and destruction: seven dead; more than 400,000 still without power; and insurance claims that could top a billion dollars.

Officials in St. Tammany Parish had just ordered a mandatory evacuation for residents living near a canal, an area of about 1,200 homes. They fear that a lock could breach and they're actually picking up evacuees on the highway there. Meanwhile, in other parts of the state, people are starting to come home.

In parts of Plaquemines Parish, the only way to get around is by boat. It's how Lonnie and Angela Serpas got to see what's left of their home Saturday.

"I just want my family to be safe and to have somewhere to go, which is nowhere." said one of the Serpas. "We're homeless."

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About 50 miles west, neighborhoods in St. John the Baptist Parish remained submerged. Residents like Jennifer Brown are surveying what's left.

"Everything I have I lost," she said. "Everything."

There were long lines throughout the day at distribution centers across southeast Louisiana, where National Guard troops handed out supplies. For many, it's the fourth straight day without power.

Shawn Richardson's home took on a foot of water. "We need as much help as we can, you know," he said. "It's rough."

Though most of New Orleans is still without power, the city is largely dry. A $14 billion federal project to reinforce its levees after Hurricane Katrina worked.

But in nearby St. John's Parish, Mervin and Valerie McKinney say the water had to go somewhere. They believe it ended up here in their area.

"We've never had this much water," said Melvin. "You're afraid to go to sleep, that the water can be in your house. So we had to leave."

They evacuated Wednesday and returned Saturday to check on the family pets. They say their neighborhood never flooded in their 23 years here. Now they worry.

"They're gonna have to put a little more attention on other areas than just New Orleans," said Melvin. "Don't get me wrong. It was real bad down there with Katrina. We just need something to be done here."

On Saturday, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu addressed those concerns. He said that his city is ready to help its neighbors with supplies, emergency medical equipment, and shelters.

  • Manuel Bojorquez

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