LAKE CHARLES, La. – Hurricane Ike spared Louisiana a direct hit, but its winds and waters killed two people as coastal areas were inundated with a storm surge that crawled some 30 miles inland, flooding tens of thousands of homes and making many roads impassable.
Nearly 600 people had been rescued from floodwaters, Gov. Bobby Jindal said Saturday night. That included 116 nursing home residents moved out of Franklin because a nearby levee failed.
Jindal said even in areas of the worst flooding, rescuers were facing resistance.
"Believe it or not, we still have people in some of those communities refusing to leave," he said.
Officials had no statewide count of flooded homes, but 13,000 buildings flooded just in Terrebonne Parish, parish officials said.
Two deaths have been attributed to the storm in Lousiana, both in the parish hit worst by Labor Day's Hurricane Gustav. A 16-year-old boy drowned in his house in Bayou Dularge, when he fell through wooden pallets used as flooring and floodwaters rose, said Terrebonne Parish coroner senior investigator Gary Alford. A 57-year-old man died from a broken neck after he was blown over by wind, he said.
Ike's surge breached levees and soaked areas still recovering from Gustav. Officials said the flooding was worse than 2005's Hurricane Rita, which hit the Louisiana-Texas border.
Between Ike and Gustav, 180,000 homes and businesses around Louisiana were without power, according to the state Public Service Commission.
Ike came ashore in Galveston, Texas, on Saturday morning, with 110 mph winds, killing two people in that state. But its impact was felt 120 miles away in Lake Charles. Water reached as far as the civic center downtown, some 30 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico.
To the south, about 1,800 homes and businesses flooded on Friday in coastal Cameron Parish and Jindal said he expected water to eventually inundate all 2,900 homes.
In Terrebonne Parish, crews plugged at least four breaches, but the federal levee system built after Katrina was holding.