Louisiana's bayou region is slowly recovering from devastating 140 mph winds

For four hours Hurricane Ida's powerful winds battered the Ellenders' 168-year-old farm in southern Louisiana. As the eyewall of the storm slowly passed its winds ripped off rooftops, sending people running for cover.

Chris Ellender said at one point during the storm he went outside to assess damage to his home and cover broken windows. That's when an employee of the Ellenders, who lived in a nearby home with their family, came running.

"One of our employees came out of the bushes," Ellender recalled. "He had this frightened stare over his face, completely wet, said "Chris, we don't know what to do." They lost their complete roofs. Their mom and dad told them to just cling to the wall and ride it out."

Ellender had them take cover inside his home.

"I said 'get in my house. It's safe. There is a roof over my house," Ellender said. "We had 16 family members from a two-year-old that was still being nursed, to little kids, to adults. They ran into the house. They just lost everything."

Impact on sugarcane crops

Hurricane Ida's impact on sugarcane crops in Louisiana will likely be felt for years to come. Crops were knocked flat to the ground with leaves shredded, said Wallace Ellender, which means they'll be impacted for years to come.

"We've gone through Hurricane Betsy, Andrew, all these major hurricanes, and never really had damage like this one," said Wallace Ellender. "This one was by far worse than anything we've seen, including Katrina, Betsy and everything else."

Wallace Ellender explained that the family farms about 4,000 acres but only harvests 2,800 acres of sugarcane every year because they have to maintain a constant rotation planting new sugarcane each year.

"When we plant sugarcane it's in the ground for three or four years, it's a multi-year investment," he said.

With the storm damaging so much of the sugarcane crop, it means it's impact won't be limited to this growing season.

"It's going to impact this farm for a few more years," Chris Ellender added.