Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Last Night's Tornadoes in NOLA

UPDATE 5PM: Last night, a tornado ripped through New Orleans, killing at least one woman, injuring 29, knocking out power to 21k-29 residents, and damaging at least 50 total FEMA trailers (proving, I think, that the trailers are unsafe in inclement weather, and that "Katrina" cottages would be a better alternative). Accordng to the AP, "The tornado hop-scotched a 10-mile path from the west bank of the Mississippi River to the shore of Lake Pontchartrain, striking some neighborhoods that had been hard hit by Katrina and have been slow to recover... In Gentilly, there are vast stretches of abandoned, gutted houses, dotted by trailers and occasional reoccupied dwellings. Some abandoned houses collapsed in the twister's winds." Said Mayor Nagin, "For the city, it's a bad thing, because it further unnerves everybody that's trying to recover from Katrina." And the choked up Governor Blanco: "It's incredible. It just looks like pick-up sticks. People's lives just torn asunder again."

Another neighborhood the tornado hit fairly hard is the uptown Carrolton neighborhood I lived in for my three months as a recovery intern. Here's an e-mail from Katie Mears, who runs the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana's gutting program.

"This will be brief, but I just wanted to send a quick update about how we’re doing down here. You might have heard that there were lots of tornados around in New Orleans last night, and I thought you should know that we’re okay.

The house where the crew chiefs live got hit—the kids are all physically fine, but a bunch of windows got blown in and two of their cars got smashed by falling powerpoles. They’re a little shaken up—nothing quite like waking up to shattering glass falling on your head—but they’ll be okay. The electricity isn’t expected to be restored anytime soon so they’ll be staying someplace else for at least a few days.

All our churches and volunteer housing seem to be fine, including St. Andrew’s and Chapel House which are in one of the hardest hit neighborhoods (at least I hope it’s one of the hardest hit; there’s not much good information available about how other places are doing). Many of our neighbors were not so lucky, and we’ll be helping folks move and clean up over the next few days.

Again, we’re all fine, but do keep us in your prayers. Everybody’s a little shaken up.


P.S. And yes, my house is fine too. No power, but also no damage."

No comments: