ORANGE, Texas — President Donald Trump got a first-hand look at the devastation left behind from Hurricane Laura from state and local officials in Orange Saturday.
President Trump's visit comes two days after the Category 4 hurricane crashed into Cameron Parish -- with parts of Southeast Texas and Orange County taking the brunt of this powerful storm.
At least 10 people died in Louisiana and four in Texas as a result from Laura. At least three Texas deaths have been blamed on carbon monoxide poisoning from generators.
The President flew Marine One from Lake Charles to Orange for an up-close look at storm damage. He also received storm recovery updates from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Orange County Judge John Gothia, Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames as well as other local officials and leaders from FEMA and TDEM.
Gov. Abbott said the federal response to Laura is among the fastest he has experienced, and he credited President Trump's actions for that. Abbott said Trump called him at midnight Thursday as Laura was making landfall for an on-the-ground update on the impacts Texas was experiencing.
Orange experienced the most damage from Laura's wrath in Texas. Though damage was far less than in next-door Lake Charles, parts of the area are expected to be without power and water for several weeks.
During the briefing, President Trump also got an update on the proposed coastal spine project, often referred to as the "Ike Dike". Officials said "significant" progress has been made over the past few weeks -- including 25 miles of the wall that goes through Orange County.
That portion of the project will include seven pump systems and 30 flood gates. It's meant to continue levee walls built in Port Arthur and Freeport. The Orange Co. part of the project, estimated to cost nearly $4 billion, is in the design phase and is not expected to be complete until 2025-2027.
Before traveling to Orange, Trump toured a ravaged Lake Charles neighborhood where streets were blocked by fallen trees and houses had been battered by the storm, one with its entire roof torn off.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has said Laura was the most powerful hurricane ever to strike his state, surpassing even Hurricane Katrina, which was a Category 3 when it hit in 2005. The storm toppled trees and damaged buildings as far north as central Arkansas, and more than 580,000 coastal residents evacuated in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.