Weather Service confirms tornado south of McNeese Street

The Weather Service confirms it was a tornado Friday night that cut a path through neighborhoods south of McNeese Street.

The path of destruction that cut through the Sugarloaf community and westward could still be seen on Monday.

Some homes lost their roofs, but in many cases the damage was confined to awnings and skirting. Some trees were also left uprooted or snapped.

Owner Clayton Hebert said the newer, sturdier homes fared well. At last count, about 30 of the 256 homes here had some damage.

"Most of the damage is cosmetic, however, there are a few homes that, when their awning left their home, it took part of their roof. So, we may have a situation where some of these homes could be totaled, but I didn't have any homes offsite. I didn't have any homes twisted or lost. They were still on site when we got back," Clayton Hebert said.

But the high winds were not confined to just Sugarloaf.  The tornado crossed La. 14, heading west. It cut a path through homes and yards on Carlo Henry Road. Trees were snapped, reminiscent to damage in Hurricane Rita.

Some residents like Ronnie Hebert are grateful their homes were left intact, despite being damaged.

"We got a disaster here at my house. At least the house is okay, but my awnings are all twisted, lying in my back yard. I'm hoping I can get a guy in here to check it out so I can start tearing it up and moving it out of the way," Ronnie Hebert said.

Others, however, were not so fortunate.

Klarissa LeJune and her roommate have to stay with friends until insurance adjusters can visit their home.

"It's going to take a lot of work. The tree took out our awning which pulled the wall and we have water leaking into the bedroom. We have about five or six holes all over the room," LeJune said.

Besides snapped trees, ripped porches and strewn property, no injuries were reported.

LeJune said Friday's storm was scary.

"Things crashing, a lot of banging, and a lot of wind. We were actually right by the front door. The lights went out. We heard a big boom. I had my niece and I just took her in the bathtub," LeJune recounted, adding that she "pretty much cried and panicked."

Ronnie Hebert echoed those experiences.

"It wasn't scary until we really got outside and saw what was going on and then everybody hunkered down. The thunder got really loud and started hitting right next to us and everything -- lightning, a lot of wind. Either it was circling, or it was blowing. One of the two," he said.

The destructive winds also hit farther west at Jesse James Park off Country Club Road where a tree fell on the mobile home that Kelly St. Germain worked so hard to remodel. The 26-year-old is a McNeese student and does not have insurance.

The tree has been removed, but he cannot live in the structure until he gets money for repairs.  St. Germain suspects that many of his neighbors are also uninsured due to the difficulty of insuring older models.

Kisha Killmer, formerly with the Cameron Office of Emergency Preparedness, is trying to help St. Germain get back on his feet.

St. Germain is one semester away from earning his Bachelor's degree, but he recently lost his job due to state budget cuts.

Killmer has established an account at the Jennings MidSouth Bank to assist St. Germain.

"I have started it off by placing $200 in it," Killmer said. "I ask the community to come together and help this young man get back on his feet."

For more information on the account, call Killmer at 337-853-9903.

To see the path of Friday's tornado, click here.

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