BRAITHWAITE, Louisiana – An elderly man and his four dogs were among those rescued from their flooded homes in a rural part of Louisiana after Hurricane Isaac caused a levee to spill over.
Water driven by the large and powerful storm flooded over an 18-mile stretch of one levee in Plaquemines Parish.
Homes in the area began filling with water early Wednesday. WFAA-TV reporter Jonathan Betz witnessed one of the dramatic rescues.
"The rescues are plentiful there, it's sad to say, " said Betz. "The National Guard arrived, and they brought out the axe. They started to chip away at an air vent so they could get to a man."
That man turned out to be 70-year-old Fred Leslie.
Leslie told WWLTV the flooding of his home came seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina destroyed his previous home.
Firefighters rescued Leslie and his dogs through his home’s roof. He sought shelter with his pets in the home’s attic, but Isaac’s waters quickly rose to his roofline.
Leslie’s rescue was one of many amazing stories coming from Plaquemines Parish, a rural area in southeastern Louisiana.
"The dogs were terrified," said Betz. "One of them actually ran and jumped into my arms as I was sitting there."
Many people chose to stay put despite mandatory evacuation orders since Isaac was a Category 1 hurricane.
"I think a lot of people were caught with their pants down," said Jerry Larpenter, sheriff in nearby Terrebonne Parish. "This storm was never predicted right since it entered the Gulf. It was supposed to go to Florida, Panama City, Biloxi, New Orleans. We hope it loses its punch once it comes in all the way."
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said officials may intentionally break the levee on the east bank of Plaquemines Parish to relieve pressure on the structure. At a news conference in Baton Rouge, Jindal said there was no estimate on when that might occur.
He said as many as 40 people are reportedly still in need of rescue in the area.
Plaquemines Parish is a fishing community southeast of New Orleans.
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