As Thursday, approximately 10,948 residents remained without power in the Pine Bluff region due to a series of storms that occurred Sunday, April 12, according to an update from Entergy, the primary electric provider in southeastern Arkansas.

As Thursday, approximately 10,948 residents remained without power in the Pine Bluff region due to a series of storms that occurred Sunday, April 12, according to an update from Entergy, the primary electric provider in southeastern Arkansas.
As damage assessment and restoration continues, a local church in Pine Bluff decided to be of service to the community. New St. Hurricane Baptist Church, located at 3319 S Ohio St. opened their doors to citizens affected by the storm.
“Knowing that the storms came through on Sunday, just processing through the fact that we knew a lot of our members and a lot of citizens and the Pine Bluff area were without power and were going to be without power over several days, we just began to try to process through what all we could do to help assist, even during this time of social distancing and with the coronavirus,” said Derick Easter, pastor of the church.
Entergy reported Thursday that the work being done included 101 broken poles, 221 spans of wire on the ground, 40 damaged transformers, and 69 damaged pieces of equipment.
Monday morning, volunteers assisted Easter and created stations where people could come inside and charge up their devices. Stations were setup 6 feet apart and notices were sent out requesting masks be worn upon admittance.
“The first day we decided to open our youth center to allow people to get ice, because we have an ice machine, to preserve some of their food,” said Easter. “We allowed them to come in and charge up their devices and use our Wi-Fi.”
Easter said when he got notice that the power was going to be out longer he knew having a hot meal was going to be an issue.
“Tuesday we opened up and provided drive thru pizzas,” said Easter. “Wednesday we partnered with Carpenter’s Produce and served catfish and chicken dinners for those in the community, still without power.”
“One of the amazing things about that was we had a set limit of meals that we were providing and basically that number ended up doubling,” said Easter. “The kindness and generosity of people who heard about what we were doing, they just came in and added and purchased more meals.”
Over 300 people per day were served at New St. Hurricane Baptist Church and Easter attributes that success to the everyday citizens of Jefferson County. Easter said he is seeing the kind acts spread throughout the community from businesses unlocking their Wi-Fi to church members offering home cooked meals to power outage victims.”
Crews were working in the Watson Chapel area on Thursday near W. 13 and W. 35 Avenues according to Entergy with 275 line workers and 111 vegetation workers in the Pine Bluff, Sheridan, Redfield, & White Hall areas.
While most customer’s power was restored on Thursday others will still be in the dark on Friday.
“We appreciate our customers’ patience and support and understand this is a difficult time. Sunday night’s storm caused catastrophic damage across much of our southern service territory and getting things back to normal requires a massive effort,” said Entergy Arkansas President and CEO Laura Landreaux.
Entergy explains when planning restoration work, they prioritize public service facilities, such as hospitals, water treatment plants, police and fire stations and communication systems. The company does the work first that gets on the largest number of customers, then works its way down to the smaller circuits.
“We will provide regular updates on our progress,” Landreaux said. “We work hard to get customers the latest information as it becomes available.”
According to a release for Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington, Pine Bluff Wastewater Utility reports that 24 of its substations were affected by the storms but services continued without major interruptions due to an alternate power source
Over the next few weeks, the City of Pine Bluff says they will be working with the Jefferson County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to assess and repair the damages in the community.
County Judge Gerald Robinson has verbally declared a state of emergency, which will allow the city to access critical recovery resources.
As a part of the recovery process, the Pine Bluff Street Department will be clearing fallen trees and limbs from roadways only and other public spaces in the city.