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OPINION

Isaac, 7 years post-Katrina, mobilizes volunteers

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NEW ORLEANS (BP) -- On the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Southern Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers are in place to help Louisiana rebound from Hurricane Isaac's damage, heavy in some areas.
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Massive power outages that may last a week, downed power lines, uprooted trees, fallen limbs and notable street flooding met south Louisianans Wednesday morning, with forecasters expecting the weather to worsen throughout the day, even as Isaac weakened to a tropical storm.

In the state's low-lying Plaquemines Parish, where Isaac made landfall outside the state's extensive $14 billion levee and floodwall system, government emergency crews rescued some 100 residents from their flooded homes. Many in the community 90 miles southeast of Louisiana had ignored a mandatory evacuation order and were trapped after water over-topped miles of an earthen levee.

Southern Baptist relief units were on standby, including several feeding, chainsaw, laundry and shower units from Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas, said Gibbie McMillan, Louisiana Baptist Convention disaster relief director.

One storm-related death has been reported in Louisiana from Isaac, which killed about 30 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic before entering the Gulf of Mexico.

Across New Orleans and surrounding suburbs, about 600,000 were without electricity, Entergy Louisiana reported.

As the rain slacked at times across the city, residents in various neighborhoods could be seen on the streets removing downed tree limbs from encumbered storm drains after more than 8 inches of rainfall since Tuesday evening. The slow-moving system could dump up to 20 inches of rain in the state.

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New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary is closed and in the dark through Thursday, but reported no major damage from Isaac, only a couple of downed trees and fallen limbs.

On the eastern edge of Isaac, damage was reported in Mobile, Ala., with downed trees and street flooding. Southern Baptist DR crews are also standing by there, said Mel Johnson, disaster relief strategist for the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions.

Isaac came on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which killed some 1,800 people, mainly in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Compiled by Baptist Press staff writer Diana Chandler. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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