Bad weather damages homes, businesses in LaPlace, beyond

Published 6:03 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2016

LAPLACE — Bad weather is tearing through LaPlace as many homes and businesses have sustained damage from heavy rain, wind and tornados that hit the area Tuesday afternoon and early evening.

Councilman Michael Wright said houses have been damaged on Moss St., Indigo, Carrollwood, Madewood and Ellerslie Drive.

“Officials are continuously monitoring the current weather situation,” Wright said. “Essential personnel are on site assessing damages. All residents are advised to stay indoors and continue to tune into local media outlets.”

LaPlace resident Constance Woods was unable to reach her home in The Meadows Tuesday afternoon because of debris from the storm.

“When I was driving down Highway 51, I noticed one of the business’ garbage cans in the middle of 51,” she said. “I turned left by the credit union on Indigo to try and reach my subdivision, but the closer I got I noticed the electrical power lines were down. As I got closer to the end of the street, I saw there was more and more debris. All of the homes along that way have damage, either their fence is down or they have roof damage.”

Woods decided to change directions and head back up Highway 51 and tried another way. She got out of her car and asked a woman directing traffic if she could take a different way into the neighborhood to get home.

“She said ‘Honey you can’t get anywhere right now’,” Woods said. “That’s when I started crying. I thought what if my house was damaged. From all of the debris and driving around trying to get home, I have a flat tire.”

Luckily Woods missed the tornado that made landfall on Highway 51.

“My daughter called me and said one was on 51,” Woods said. “I must have just gotten through after it passed. Thank God.”

Woods told L’Observatuer she is still unable to reach her house.

“It feels horrible not being able to get to my house,” she said. “I feel so helpless.”

At approximately 4:15 p.m., a severe weather system passed through St. John Parish resulting in tornadic activity that caused significant impacts across the Parish including downed power lines, downed trees and extensive damage to homes.
The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado touched down in LaPlace. St. John remains under a Tornado Watch until 10 p.m., and a Wind Advisory until 6 a.m. Wednesday.
Emergency personnel, the Office of Fire Services and the Sheriffs Office have been called out to provide assistance to residents and assess the Parish. Residents are advised to stay off of the roads and report all emergencies to 911 immediately.
Approximately, 1,624 residents are out of power in LaPlace and additional sporadic outages are occurring throughout the Parish.
Currently, US 61 between Deputy Barton Granier Dr. and Belle Terre Blvd., US 61 at Tiffany Dr., Cambridge Dr. north of Fairway Dr. to Woodland Dr., and parts of Greenwood are closed at this time. However, power lines, debris and trees are scattered throughout the Parish and motorists should not attempt to drive down hazardous roadways.
The possibility for severe weather remains. St. John Parish officials will continue to communicate with the Emergency Responders, the National Weather Service, Entergy and the 911 center for updates on power outages and parish-wide damages.