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La. declares public health emergency after Isaac

(CBS/AP) BATON ROUGE, La. - Gov. Bobby Jindal has declared a statewide public health emergency to let government workers enter private property to assess and remove nuisance debris from Hurricane Isaac that poses a health hazard.

His statement Monday notes that widespread flooding continues in some areas.

The state has issued more than 200 water boil advisories and has lost more than 40 percent of the electrical power statewide for an extended period.

It also notes that every parish in the state issued an emergency declaration and many issued evacuation orders, and that health care may be disrupted for people who had to move out of their homes.

Louisiana's labor department is also asking the federal government for $3.4 million to pay unemployed state residents to help with cleanup work after Hurricane Isaac.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission said Monday that it has filed a request for an emergency grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The commission estimates the grant could pay salaries for about 450 people, along with career counseling and other work force assistance. Residents directly harmed by the storm would get priority for the work.

Meanwhile, utility companies have restored power to most of the Louisiana and Arkansas customers who had been knocked offline due to the storm. However, Louisiana's Public Service Commission reported Monday that 125,000 homes and businesses remained without electricity - about 6 percent of the customers statewide.

After the storm came ashore, more than 900,000 customers lost their power, nearly half the homes and businesses around the state.

Entergy Arkansas said power has been restored to most people who lost electricity after the remnants of Hurricane Isaac blew through the state. A few hundred customers were without power Monday morning.

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Plaquemines Parish

The largest power outages remain in southeast Louisiana's Plaquemines Parish, where the storm inundated the mostly rural area with floodwaters that swallowed homes. Seventy percent of the parish's utility customers remained without power by Monday afternoon.

One Monday Plaquemines Parish allowed some residents and business owners back into the area to survey Isaac's damage, reports CBS Affiliate WAFB. But they were only allowed in with a police escort, and only on the less heavily-damaged west bank.


Mississippi officials said they have released enough water from swollen Lake Tangipahoa to bring it to normal levels.

James MacLellan, dam safety director with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, told CBS Affiliate WAFB officials will drop the lake at Percy Quin State Park another five feet this week. He said Lake Tangipahoa's earthen dam, a 2,300-foot levee, has not been breached and is stable

Although flooding continues, especially Pearl River County, officials say electricity has been stored to all but several hundred customers. Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Jeff Rent says only three shelters - housing 26 people - remain open as of Tuesday morning.

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