Louisiana

After 21 tornadoes hit Louisiana, residents wake up to aftermath of another natural disaster

After 21 tornadoes made landfall in Louisiana in a 24-hour period, residents of this weather-stricken state, who have grappled with a litany of severe storms in recent years, ranging from major hurricanes to hurricanes, awoke Thursday morning to an eerie familiar scene .

Houses had shifted from their foundations; Roofs had blown off. People’s belongings were scattered on the street. Downed power lines cut roads, and once again line workers lined up to begin repairs.

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Joe Glorioso surveys the damage to the roof of his Gretna home.

The tornado ripped off part of the roof of Joe Glorioso’s 114-year-old home on 9th Street in Gretna, exposing the interior of his home to torrential rain. By late Thursday morning he had cleared much of the house of furniture piled on the curb outside; the ceiling in a now empty room sagged under water.

“I’m in shock,” said Glorioso, 81, a retired hairdresser and school bus driver. “It will hit me. But they are things we will get through.”

As dozens of home insurers pulled out of Louisiana after record-breaking 2020 and 2021 hurricane seasons, plunging the state into an increasingly precarious insurance landscape, Glorioso feared his monthly premiums would skyrocket.

“Prices will definitely go up,” he said.

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Alisha Lanier picks up debris outside her Harvey home.

Alisha Lanier, 41, spent Thursday morning with a group of contractors picking up rubble outside her home in Harvey. She was home when the tornado hit.

“The barometric pressure dropped and my ears were popping,” Lanier said. “And that’s how you know it’s a tornado.”

She was safe, but a massive steel beam had impaled the roof of her house. Once she figured it out, she was confident that she would bounce back.

“We’ll be fine,” she said. “But thanks to the insurance, it won’t be because they won’t pay anyway.”

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Keith Eccles at his home in Gretna where his shed once stood. The tornado blew it onto the street.

Keith Eccles had just repaired his home after Hurricane Ida struck it last year. As an artist and art teacher at West Jefferson High School, the shed of his Gretna home had destroyed the block. The tornado had also ripped off his roof.

He was grateful that neighbors stepped in to help him transport his paintings from his home to his studio next door after the worst of the storm passed on Wednesday night – and that his family made it out of the storm alive.

“It will make this holiday even more special,” he said, breaking down in tears. “Be thankful for what you have and be surrounded by the people you love. Because your life can change in an instant.”

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Merritt Landry in his tractor ready to clean up the yard.

For residents of Arabi, in the community of St. Bernard, this is the second time in less than a year that a tornado has devastated the small community outside of New Orleans.

Merritt Landry spent Thursday morning on his tractor — a must, he said, if you live in Louisiana and experience frequent hurricanes and tornadoes — collecting broken glass and other debris that was scattered around his home.

He sheltered from the storm in the hallway and snuggled up to his family and their dog. Their roof was damaged, but he said everyone was in good spirits.

“We’re used to hurricanes, but tornadoes are new to us,” Landry said. “We are resilient people – we will be back.”

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People assess damage in Arabi.

Trina Moolekamp, ​​long-time resident of Arabi, is no stranger to natural disasters and the aftermath that follow – her home was damaged during Hurricane Katrina and on Thursday morning she spent the day clearing glass and debris from the hurricane, that had hit the day before sweeping around the house. But she said she was confident she would rebuild. Moolekamp added she felt fortunate that no one was hurt.

“Things are fixable and replaceable,” Moolekamp said. “People aren’t.”

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