DENTON COUNTY, Texas — From flooded neighborhoods to food and gas lines as far as the eyes can see -- Hurricane Ida carved a path of destruction across Louisiana.
People in New Orleans are still struggling, including tourists who arrived before landfall and ended up stranded there.
Among those stuck in New Orleans are Krystyn Comeaux and Justin Hicks. The Denton County couple was there to celebrate Hicks' birthday. They didn't know Hurricane Ida was headed their way.
Saturday, they were still stranded there. During a video call with WFAA, they shared their tough experience.
“It’s not a picnic! This is not a vacation anymore… this stopped being a vacation about five days ago,” said Comeaux.
Comeaux said their flights home have been cancelled three different times. They had to switch hotels at one point during the power outage.
“The biggest struggle is there’s no way out,” said Comeaux.
They haven’t been able to find a rental car in New Orleans and getting gas is a concern for them after seeing long lines day after day.
Even finding basic needs, like food, has become a challenge. Every day, they spend hours walking several miles to find food. Friday, the couple said they received food from military troops and the Salvation Army. They were so grateful for cartons of water, red beans and rice.
“It’s been a journey,” said Hicks. “We have to walk so far, and it’s so hot to just get food. There’s no A/C at all, until last night… it’s like 90 degrees in the room… you’re sweating.”
Six days after Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, Entergy announced Saturday that crews had restored power to 35% of customers. More than 620,000 customers were still in the dark Saturday.
The energy company says some parishes could be waiting several weeks for power to be restored.
“Just take the good with the bad,” said Hicks.
The couple is scheduled to fly back to North Texas on Monday. They're hoping the flight won't get cancelled this time around.
While it’s not the birthday celebration they had in mind, Hicks said they’ve witnessed good happening all around them.
“Everybody’s been helping each other out. It’s a real sense of community,” said Hicks.
Comeaux said the difficult experience has made them realize that things like electricity, food and clean laundry shouldn’t be taken for granted.
Through it all, Hicks said he’s celebrating another year of life feeling more grateful than ever.