New Orleans area tornado: 5 Arabi residents on loss, destruction after severe storm
At least two tornadoes touched down in the New Orleans area on Tuesday night, causing significant damage to an area still recovering from Hurricane Ida, multiple injuries and even a death.
Tornadoes touched the grounds in the Lower 9th Ward, New Orleans East, Slidell, Lacombe and Gretna, but Arabi was the most impacted. New Orleans Public Radio reporters spoke with some of the town's residents, who recounted the moments when the tornado hit and the aftermath the night of and morning after.
“(My dog) was hiding in my office underneath my desk, trembling. She's with me now ... Oh my god. I won't leave her again. I will not leave her again. She will leave with me when I leave. But I think it was a blessing that I wasn't home. From what I hear, it was pretty horrific to live through.”
“It was like a giant monster was attacking us. And just like they say a train — and it just kept getting louder and louder. But like, you know, a train comes sideways. This thing was coming like a train over you smooshing … And then the dogs were shaking. Oh, it was so horrible. I couldn't even run to a safe place because it was hitting everywhere and you could feel the house moving.”
“Everything just started to shake, glass breaking, and stuff started falling on me. And then I thought for sure the house is going to collapse. But a good thing it didn't. I wouldn't be here telling you the story right now. But it was like that quick ... We're used to this, so we’ll just go back I guess, but I don't know where I'm headed to."
"I've never seen anything like this except on TV, so it is a bit overwhelming. I have been able to find things in the rubble — pictures of the children for our children's church, my son's bible ... So, I'm grateful for the little things in the middle of all this. And that the altar is still standing, which, to us, is very important — the altar of the Lord — and it's still standing there. And, to us, that's a sign that God is with us and he will be with us. And we will rebuild and come back stronger."
The tornado hit us last night. We were watching it on TV and we went in the bathroom and it just blew. That horse trailer went into the back of the house, hit the house next door and all the windows blew out ... it looks like armageddon around here. We, physically, are OK, so, I'm all right. As long as we're OK physically ... all this stuff is just material stuff. Everybody pulls together. Everybody's friends and helps each other out.
Gulf States Newsroom Reporter Shalina Chatlani, Gulf States Newsroom Digital Editor Orlando Flores and WWNO News Director Patrick Madden contributed to this story.