NEW ORLEANS — For five days after Hurricane Ida tore through New Orleans and left the city in darkness, 86-year-old Eddie Gentry sat in his sweltering, eighth-floor apartment, fearing that he was running out of breath.
Mr. Gentry opened his windows to get some breeze, but the two critical machines that help him breathe sat useless in his apartment because he lacked power. He thought about trying to get to the street and walk a few blocks to the French Quarter, where power was restored on Wednesday night, but the building’s elevators were not working and he doubted he could walk down eight flights carrying his oxygen tank and the nebulizer that delivers asthma medicine to his lungs.
“My breath was getting heavy, heavy, heavy,” Mr. Gentry recalled on Sunday. “I felt like my condition was going to kill me.”
On Saturday, the sixth day without power, Mr. Gentry and hundreds of his neighbors were rescued by workers with the New Orleans Health Department, which evacuated residents of eight apartment buildings for older people that it said were unsafe.
a warehouse that appeared to lack basic sanitation.