Following Hurricane Ida's citywide blackout, New Orleans residents wait to fill up on gas at a Basin Street gas station. (Charles Maldonado/The Lens)

Power returned to parts of New Orleans Wednesday morning, following more than two days of a massive blackout caused by Hurricane Ida.

According to a press release from Entergy New Orleans, some customers in eastern New Orleans now have power again. The utility is using the New Orleans Power Station, a controversial new gas plant in eastern New Orleans, to generate power.

But at least 169,000 customers, the vast majority of the city, remain without electricity.

Gas to power cars and generators remained scarce on Wednesday, with long lines forming at the handful of open gas stations.

At a Chevron station near the French Quarter, cars and people on foot carrying gas cans formed two-blocks-long lines along Basin Street waiting for their chance at a pump.

David Brumfield, who came on foot, had finally come near the front of the line after waiting for over an hour.

“I’m here to get some gas for my truck, and I got a generator at home,” Brumfield, who lives Uptown, told The Lens.

Entergy New Orleans has yet to provide a firm estimate of how long it will take to get the rest of the city and the region online. The NOPS plant can only produce a fraction of what the city usually uses. The company has another plant in the metro area, Ninemile Point in Westwego, that can be put online. Together, the plants would produce roughly half the power the city normally requires.

The power company said the plant, which went online last year following a controversy over the use of paid actors appearing at City Council meetings to voice support for the plant, would help the city recover more quickly in the event of a catastrophic failure of its main transmission lines, which is precisely what occurred this week. Repairs to the transmission lines, which bring power in from outside the area, could take far longer than local generation.

Charles Maldonado

Charles Maldonado is the editor of The Lens. He previously worked as The Lens' government accountability reporter, covering local politics and criminal justice. Prior to joining The Lens, he worked for...