Alabama Tornado Recovery

March 2, 2007

Reported by Lee Peck

It's just day one of recovery and like hurricanes, the signs of destruction are very real. But unlike the storms of the gulf coast, enterprise residents had no warning for Thursday's tornados, which has many still finding it hard to believe that something like that could happen in their small town.

As residents of Enterprise walked down main street, the city of progress has regressed in the last 24 hours. Trees have been uprooted, and business and homes have been destroyed following Thursday's deadly tornados. Business owner Robert Flynt said, "The sounds we were hearing in the back seeking shelter, it was roars, like a freight train."

Downtown business owner Robert Flynn has begun the cleanup as have utility crews working to remove downed electrical poles. Relief has also made its way to Enterprise by way of the American Red Cross, the National Guard and FEMA. Meanwhile at Enterprise High School eight students have been confirmed dead.

The only other death happened at a home where an eldery woman died in the arms of her home health aide. Faye Lee said, "She told me baby go in the hallway. You've got a baby at home. She said I'm 86 years old, and I'm in God's hands. If I go today, it's going to be okay. I'm in God's hands. And we just kept holding pressure and trying to do CPR and whatever, and she just went with a smile on her face. She was happy.

Smiles were harder to come by further down main road, where residents tried to salvage what they could.

Melanie caldwell was taking refuge in her basement with her five children when her oldest went back to get a toy. Caldwell said, "When he got upstairs, that's when the wind started to woo. So, I got my other four kids, and I took them in the hallway. And I could hear my son calling my name, but I just could not get to him. By the time he got to me, it was over."

Grateful their lives were spared, she holds on to faith for a better tomorrow. Caldwell said, "I just don't know. I'm just going to try to get what we can and pray we can get somewhere else."

A lot of people are living on faith waiting for that recovery to get back on their feet. Some of that recovery arrived early Friday. Ice trucks, out of state utility workers, and FEMA have arrived, but a lot of people still have that long term recovery question, when will they be able to rebuild, but as we all know in Southwest Louisiana that can take a long time.