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See closures, shelter information ahead of winter weather in southeast Louisiana

Paul Braun
/
WRKF

With winter weather heading for parts of southeast Louisiana, government offices and schools are in the process of deciding whether to close or remain open.

Icy precipitation starting Thursday night through Friday morning is expected on the northshore, in metro Baton Rouge and in the River Parishes, according to the National Weather Service.

The temperature is expected to drop just above freezing in New Orleans, and areas southeast of Lake Pontchartrain aren’t expected to get sleet or hail.

Here are closure announcements so far.

Schools


Most districts are still planning to hold classes in-person, but said they could change their plans before the end of Thursday.

East Baton Rouge Parish: School start times will be delayed by three hours Friday morning, and staff are expected to report an hour before. District officials said they made the decision with guidance from the local office of Homeland Security & Emergency as well as the National Weather Service.

Jefferson Parish: School officials said they are monitoring weather conditions in case they need to pivot to remote learning Friday, but as of Thursday afternoon, no such announcement has been made.

Orleans Parish: No changes have been announced for the city’s public school system.

St. Tammany Parish: All schools will shift to distance learning on Friday, and all activities are canceled due to inclement weather.

St. John the Baptist Parish: Due to the weather, campuses will be closed Friday and students will take classes online. Instructions for grades and schools can be found here.

Tangipahoa Parish: Classes will be held virtually on Friday for all students due to potentially hazardous road conditions. Students will be sent home with devices for online learning and teachers are expected to share assignments by email on Friday morning.

City and state governments

Gov. John Bel Edwards announced Thursday that no state offices would be closed because of the weather, but he advised Louisianans to check with local authorities for announcements of any school or municipal building closures.

“The bottom line is that we’re expecting at least a trace of wintery precipitation in southeast Louisiana and several nights of freezing temperatures with wind chills in the teens across a big portion of the state,” Edwards said.

Edwards did not declare a state of emergency because of the weather, but the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness activated its crisis action teams to respond to any local governments’ requests.

The Public Service Commission does not expect any winter weather-related power outages, like those the state experienced in February 2021. That’s because precipitation totals are expected to remain well below the amount required to create dangerous ice accumulation on trees and power lines.

But Edwards warned that the trace amounts of sleet and freezing rain could lead to dangerous driving conditions on roads across the region.

“We will have DOTD crews out and they will be spreading [salt] and brine,” Edwards said. “We’re going to find any ice and take care of it, [and] we’re going to mark it as quickly as we can, but you may be the motorist that finds it first.”

State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter urged Louisianans to be safe while heating their homes. He warned against using a stove or oven as a makeshift heater, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Space heaters should only be plugged into a wall out — not an extension cord — and should be kept on a stable surface away from any clothes, linens or curtains that could catch fire.

The city of New Orleans has activated its freeze plan through the weekend and is urging residents to prepare. Shelter will be provided for unhoused individuals by city partners through Saturday.

Residents in need of overnight shelter can call the New Orleans Police Department’s non-emergency number at 504-821-2222.

Shelter will be provided free of charge at the following locations starting Thursday night.

  • The Salvation Army, 4530 S. Claiborne Ave., will accept adults beginning at 4 p.m.
  • Ozanam Inn, 2239 Poydras St., will accept adults beginning at 4 p.m. for overnight shelter.
  • Covenant House, 611 N. Rampart St., will accept individuals age 22 and under, their dependent children and any women with dependent minor children (open 24/7).
  • New Orleans Mission, 1130 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., will accept adults beginning at 4 p.m.
  • Low Barrier Shelter, 1530 Gravier St., will accept adults beginning at 6 p.m.

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