Storm causes minor damage at Oak Alley

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 9, 2010



VACHERIE – Heavy rains and strong winds from severe thunderstorms Saturday afternoon caused some minor damage on the grounds of Oak Alley Plantation.

Three trees on the back lawn of the house were blown down and the tin roof of a maintenance shed was torn off during the storm, which occurred around 2 p.m. Saturday, said Oak Alley Director of Marketing Debra Mayhew. Mayhew said all of the damage was relegated to the rear of the home and that the home and the front alley of oaks stayed free from harm. The plantation remained open throughout the storm.

“The housekeepers were in the building where the roof blew off, but in a different section where the roof was still intact,” Mayhew said. “They were very scared not knowing if their roof was going to come off also and hearing all the noise of the tin.”

Mayhew said the workers rode the quickly passing storm out in the bathroom of the building. She said as soon as the wind stopped the crew made it out of the building and into the restaurant nearby.

According to meteorologists with the National Weather Service in Slidell, there were no reports of any tornado activity in that area over the weekend, but there was substantial straight-line winds and torrential rainfall in a matter of a few minutes. Wind speeds and rainfall totals for the area were not immediately available due to a lack of data collecting equipment in that area.

“The rain was falling so hard that it made the sky look white,” Mayhew said. “You couldn’t see a few feet in front of you, but it was all over as quickly as it started.”

Mayhew said once the rain subsided, maintenance crews were out clearing debris and broken tree branches off the lawns.

“We have such a wonderful grounds staff, they were out here within the hour picking up and clearing the areas,” Mayhew said. “We never missed any tours and everyone was safe and just a little shaken as it came up so suddenly.”