Hurricane Isaac is long gone, but its effects are still in play as officers ordered the evacuation of homes within a half-mile of a storm-damaged chemical plant in Braithwaite to guard against possible contamination or fire.
Louisiana State Police Troop B spokeswoman Trooper Melissa Matey said teams with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Quality were evaluating the Stolthaven New Orleans plant, which has been without power since Hurricane Isaac flooded it last week.
The reason for the evacuation days after the storm wasn’t immediately clear, but Matey said the company alerted the state police’s hazardous materials division about potentially harmful and flammable chemicals inside.
Plaquemines’ east bank is already under a mandatory evacuation order from Isaac, but authorities worked Monday to clear out those residents near the plant who had stayed anyway.
Parish spokeswoman Caitlin Campbell said police have also closed English Turn Road within the evacuation perimeter.
The evacuation only affects homes and businesses along the levee, Matey said. It won’t affect the West Bank or shipping traffic along the Mississippi River while assessment teams decide how best to move the chemicals inside.
The Plaquemines Parish Sheriff’s Office is handling the evacuation, Matey said.