As flood from Isaac recedes, La. surveys damage

Pastor Calvin Woods
CBS News

(CBS News) NEW ORLEANS - Thousands are still dealing with the aftermath of Isaac, and frustrations are rising along the Gulf Coast.

It first dropped heavy rains on Florida, then spread to states all along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.

On Sunday, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano visited the hardest-hit spots.

In a video showing Isaac's wrath as a Category 1 hurricane, water drowned neighborhoods in Plaquemines Parish on Wednesday.

"People don't realize how fast water rises, how fast it can turn into rapids around you," said P.J. Hahn, a flood manager for Plaquemines Parish. "I was terrified for people that live in this area. I know it was gonna cause a lot of damage."

Hahn was behind the camera that day, and he spent the weekend assessing damage.

"It's just a horrific sight. A lot of homes totally lost. Peoples' lives lost out here," Hahn said.

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More than 6 feet of water remain in parts of Plaquemines Parish. New Orleans' new $14 billion levee system kept the city dry, but at least 12 surrounding parishes experienced flooding. Two of them, Plaquemines and St. Johns parishes, has severe flooding.

"We faced Hurricane Katrina and even Hurricane Isaac. It was the Lord who stood by our side," said Pastor Calvin Woods, as he led his congregation at Greater Liberty Baptist Church in New Orleans' Ninth Ward through a Sunday service without electricity.

Woods said all of his congregation was "affected one way or another."

None more than Pastor Woods. When Hurricane Katrina flooded his New Orleans home, he left and started over 30 miles west in LaPlace.

"Sometimes my street would flood but never like this," Woods said.

His new house took on five feet of water. Those flood waters are receding, but he hasn't been back. He says he's needed here.

"The lord has taught me a long time ago you can cry, but after you cry, you still gotta do what you gotta do," Woods said. "I had my cry, but then I shook it off and you have to go forward and that's it."

Now the water has retreated in LaPlace from a height of eight feet to three feet in some places. Many in the parish say they don't have flood insurance because they didn't think it was necessary.

President Obama will visit New Orleans on Monday afternoon to tour the damage.