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Hurricane Ida survivors in Ponchatoula cut off from the rest of the world amidst devastation

Three families stayed during the hurricane, Friday was the first day they were able to clear enough debris to leave on land.

PONCHATOULA, La. — It’s been thirteen days since Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, twelve of those days three close neighbors living in Ponchatoula were cut off from the rest of the world. The devastation and debris from Ida making leaving on land virtually impossible.

“We rode out Katrina here and this is worse than Katrina,” Bruce Varnado said. “And it is still surreal. I get lost on our road it looks nothing like it used to.”

Bruce and Tanya, Bryan and Tammy, and Sunny all stayed in their homes along the Tangipahoa River. In the days since they have worked to help each other through the clean-up and take each other on essential boat trips to get more gas for the generator and food to eat.

“And my boat was actually somewhere else so of the three families that were out here only one family Bryan they had the only boat out here,” Sunny Ryerson said.

Ryerson’s yard and driveway are filled with sand from the receded floodwaters, and on Saturday crews were working to clear the many trees that couldn’t withstand Ida’s winds.

She and her neighbors are on day thirteen of no power. Friday was the first day they were able to get out by car.

“Yesterday was 13 days without being able to leave and none of us have power, phone, internet. For about almost seven days the only thing our iPhone would do is people could text us, but nothing else,” Ryerson said.

The only reason they were able to get out is because she said her neighbor, Bryan Krajniak, spent days with a chainsaw clearing the trees down their more-than-a-mile-long driveway.

On Saturday, the waters were still high on the roadway in and out of their neighborhood, but low enough for crews to get back to their homes and begin the long clean-up.

“All in all I think we’re pretty lucky. We’re all very lucky that we stayed out here and we’re still alive,” Varnado said.

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