Weekend storms hit residents

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 9, 2004

By LEONARD GRAY – Managing Editor

LAPLACE – The weekend storms continued to slam the River Parishes, and this weekend is predicted not to be any different.

That’s not good news for people such as Nancy Hebert and her boyfriend, Ivan Gould, residents of 122 Augustin Lane, on the outskirts of LaPlace.

Their recently-remodeled trailer residence was nearly broken in half when a pecan oak was twisted by freak winds and snapped onto their home Saturday at about 4:30 p.m.

The tree limbs smashed into the central part of the trailer, over the kitchen and bathrom.

Next door, Jim and Judy Hebert, Nancy’s brother and sister-in-law, were terrified, and Jim dashed through the rain to pound on her locked door, expecting to find her trapped inside the home.

Instead, it was quickly determined that no one was inside, for as Jim pounded on the door, Judy was calling Nancy’s cell phone and found the family was out, and headed home.

“We have no idea what to do now,” Nancy said Monday, adding that the couple, along with his 11-year-old son, Ivan Jr., will stay at the Uncle Sam Motel on Airline Highway for about a week. “After that, I have no idea.”

Meanwhile, they are attempting to salvage what they can. A section of roof is smashed in and the wall opposite the tree is badly crushed and buckled.

“It’s a total loss,” she said, thankful no one was hurt. “The good Lord above was definitely watching over us.”

Kathy Gilmore, assistant director of emergency preparedness for St. John Parish, said the weekend’s weather produced scores of downed trees and tree limbs, especially on Saturday. “Most of the complaints came from Old LaPlace, with some on the West Bank,” she said.

Gilmore continued, “We’re back in the typical summertime weather patterns.”

In St. Charles Parish, where residents again got a pounding from thunderstorms and high winds all weekend, patience is wearing thin.

“It’s getting a little bit old,” Tab Troxler, director of emergency preparedness for St. Charles Parish, commented.

He noted that since April 25, the National Weather Service has issued 47 warnings and watches for the parish for severe thunderstorms, floods and tornados.

Severe thunderstorms on Saturday produced severe straight-line winds which produced tornado-like effects. At one point, the winds had the cables on the Hale Boggs Bridge swinging, which he said was unheard-of. Vehicles also struggled against the tropical-storm level winds to cross the bridge, though it never closed during the weekend.

Downed trees littered Louisiana Highway 3127 in the Hahnville area, along with trees on the Fashion Golf Course, behind the courthouse. On Sunday, still more severe thunderstorms slammed the parish.

Even back on Friday, pea-sized hail was reported in the Montz area, Troxler said.