The Gene Oddo Story

The most compelling story out of Hurricane Isaac is the overtopping of the river levees and, it appears, the failure of the back levees on the east bank of the Mississippi.

And Ground Zero of the effect of that levee failure is the small town of Braithwaite, which sits to the south of Chalmette as the river bends. A map…

The area took a great deal of damage seven years ago when Katrina came through, but it wasn’t completely wiped out. It appears Isaac might have done a bigger number on the place.

To show just how bad things got in Braithwaite, a resident of the town Gene Oddo figured he’d ride out the storm at home – and quickly recognized that was the wrong decision. WWL-TV picks up Oddo’s story by getting him on the phone early this morning (a three-part video clip)…

There’s a happy ending, of sorts, as it appears the Oddos got out – though they’re going to lose all their stuff. The citizens in Plaquemines organized the rescues in private shrimp boats and trucks.

But the National Guard was soon on the scene to rescue others who chose to attempt to ride out the storm at home…

Near the Diversion Canal where Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes meet and where Hurricane Isaac landed its hardest punch, a drenched James Olieiere sat in the back of a National Guard vehicle, gave thanks to his recuers and uttered one more request. “All I know is I’m ready to put some dry clothes on.”

Olieiere is one of 12 people rescued from the attic of a home on the east bank of Plaquemines Parish early Wednesday as Isaac’s floodwaters engulfed their community. After waiting hours, parish officials were able to pull the group through a hole punctured in the roof and bring them to safety.

Patricia Bateman was also rescued from her trailer in Plaquemines after it began filling with water. She also wound at the National Guard rescue site along with her two pet, a poodle named Shithead and Margi her St..Bernard.

Bateman said she was confident that she could ride out the storm as she and other family members had done in past years. “My grandpaw lived there 89 years when he died. He went through Betsy, Camille, and all of them and never had a problem,” she said.


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