Conditions at multiple New Orleans senior centers where five people were found dead and hundreds more were evacuated after Hurricane Ida were “unacceptable,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Monday.
The deaths, announced in a statement Sunday by city officials, were discovered at eight senior apartment complexes during post-hurricane “wellness checks.”
About 600 people were evacuated Saturday from eight privately run centers across the city, which were ordered shuttered, officials said. The facilities were “deemed unfit for ongoing occupancy,” the statement said.
Four deaths were recorded at the buildings. Two other centers were ordered closed Friday after a person was found dead, the statement said.
The coroner’s office is investigating what caused the deaths.
Officials shuttered seven nursing homes in metro New Orleans when they discovered that 843 patients had been moved to a single warehouse in Tangipahoa Parish, north of New Orleans, before Ida roared ashore Aug. 29.
Seven people died after the move, with five of the deaths classified as storm-related.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry announced Friday that his office is investigating the “apparently unsafe and potentially inappropriate facility.”
Cantrell vowed “accountability across the board” at a news conference Monday and said a team of inspectors and officials from several city agencies would immediately begin working to improve conditions at the apartment complexes.
“We do not want to bring them back in those conditions that they left,” she said.
Ida slammed into the Louisiana coast as a Category 4 hurricane. It devastated bayou towns, left New Orleans without power and battered the Northeast. The storm, which was fueled by unusually warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, has so far left 69 people dead across eight states.
Tim Stelloh is a reporter for NBC News based in California.