Wednesday, October 5

Curfew lifted in Calcasieu for vehicles


Calcasieu Parish officials today lifted the 7 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew that has been in place since Hurricane Rita hit — but only for vehicular traffic.

Pedestrians are still banned from being out during the curfew period.

Bryan Beam, assistant parish administrator, said the decision was prompted by the “the restoration of power in the majority of the parish.”

Entergy said it has restored power to more than 70 percent of its Calcasieu customers.

Beam said lifting the curfew will allow people to more easily obtain food and supplies from the growing number of retail outlets that are opening.

Residents with power, water and sewer will be allowed back to Lake Charles on Friday, according to Calcasieu Parish administrator Mark McMurry.

That announcement was made during Tuesday’s Hurricane Rita parish assessment news conference.

“The restoration of utilities has to be managed by providers. There still could be some set backs because of the instability of local utilities,” McMurry said.

In the past four days, Lake Charles and Calcasieu Parish officials have visited all areas. They are basing their re-entry plan using a military model, according to chief city administrator Paul Rainwater.

Calcasieu ComeBack is the name of the plan.

Tuesday morning, Rainwater, McMurry and two consultants met with government officials from throughout the parish.
After briefing leaders on the specifics of the parish-wide assessment, it was decided to start the re-entry process.
Utilities and livability are the main concern for the decision makers.

“Our overall assessment shows that 75 percent of services have been restored in Calcasieu Parish,” Rainwater said.
Since officials started the “look and leave” initiative, an unknown amount of residents have decided to stay. “They’ve shown fantastic judgment in the way they’ve handled themselves,’’ Rainwater said.

As people trickle back into hurricane-damaged areas, Rainwater said more businesses will open.

“What the businesses do to open will assist us as to what we can provide,” Rainwater said.

Rainwater expressed concern about current fuel supplies.

“There is not enough for retail sales to handle an influx of people. Get your food and water, then stay home,’’ he said.
Other decisions made by parish and municipal officials:

  • Residents without basic services are encouraged to remain outside of the parish, but are still allowed to look and leave, as well as improve property.
  • Specifics for curfew will be announced today.
  • Residents in Vinton are still subject to look-and-leave status until power there is dramatically improved.

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