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Mosquitoes and Mud: A Lineworker's Day in South Louisiana

Published 10-19-21

Submitted by Entergy Corporation

person working on utility pole

In a couple sentences, Jude Orgeron, an Entergy Louisiana operations coordinator, cut to the core of what it’s like for crews working around the clock in swamps and marshes to bring back power to the hardest hit areas of the Bayou State:

“It’s hot. There are Mosquitoes and alligators. It’s a mess of mud, and quite frankly, the environment can be miserable at times.”

While these are extreme conditions for any lineworker, South Louisiana’s terrain became an even greater challenge for thousands of restoration workers from more than 40 states who are repairing and rebuilding the electric system following Hurricane Ida’s historic winds. Many have never worked such a hot and humid environment, much less stumbled upon an alligator during their workday. But despite these challenges, they’re giving it their all.

Zach Young, an Entergy lineworker who is overseeing hundreds of workers from beyond Louisiana’s borders, said he recently observed a crew from Chicago who were soaking wet and tired but, amazingly, were relentless in their quest to continue repairing broken poles and crossarms in the marshes of Jefferson Parish. Although this is the most grueling work some crews have ever encountered, Young said, they continue to arrive at the marshes around dawn each day in hope of resurrecting another key piece of Entergy’s distribution system.

“It doesn’t matter what job you give them,” Young said, adding, “They really enjoy this kind of hard work. It means everything to them to get the job done.”

Varying depths of mud, scattered growths of vegetation and vast stretches of water require crews to utilize heavy-duty boots, specific clothes and equipment, as well as high-water vehicles, airboats, barges, drones and helicopters. Given the extreme and often unfamiliar conditions, crews review a long list of safety protocols before taking on a job each morning. They then work toward the unified goal of restoring power to a foreign land, leaving the marsh after each job covered in mud, sweat and a sense of satisfaction that poles and wire are back in the air.

Ida caused more damage to Louisiana’s distribution system than Hurricanes Katrina, Delta and Zeta combined, and it’s the craft and unique skillsets of lineworkers to overcome any terrain — including swamps and marshes — that continue to be critical in bringing back power to South Louisiana communities.

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Entergy Corporation

Entergy Corporation

Entergy, a Fortune 500 company headquartered in New Orleans, powers life for 3 million customers across Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy is creating a cleaner, more resilient energy future for everyone with our diverse power generation portfolio, including increasingly carbon-free energy sources. With roots in the Gulf South region for more than a century, Entergy is a recognized leader in corporate citizenship, delivering more than $100 million in economic benefits to local communities through philanthropy and advocacy efforts annually over the last several years. Our approximately 12,500 employees are dedicated to powering life today and for future generations. Learn more at entergy.com and follow @Entergy on social media. #WePowerLife

Corporate Social Responsibility at Entergy

For more than 100 years, Entergy has powered life in our communities through strategic philanthropy, volunteerism and advocacy. Entergy’s corporate social responsibility initiatives help create and sustain thriving communities, position the company for sustainable growth and are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Our top CSR priorities are education/workforce development, poverty solutions/social services and environmental programs. Entergy annually contributes $16-$18 million in shareholder-funded grants to approximately 2,000 nonprofit organizations in the communities where we operate. In addition, our employees volunteer more than 100,000 hours in those communities' values at more than $3 million.

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